Just because the first round is where the elite prospects go, that does not guarantee them success in the NFL. Furthermore, just because a player does not go in the first round, does not mean that he will not be a star in the NFL. Day 2 and Day 3 are where Super Bowl rosters are built and there was a ton of talent to be drafted after the first round. Here are 10 thoughts I have from Day 2 and Day 3.
1) New York Jets are Incompetent – I just do not understand what is going on with this franchise. I understand the desire to take the best available player and the way the top of the draft played out, LSU S Jamal Adams was the best player on the board. The Jets had a need at safety; they allowed 30 touchdown passes last year and tallied only eight interceptions. Adams made sense at that pick.
What I do not understand is going with Florida S Marcus Maye in the second round. They already have S Marcus Gilchrist and he is only 28 years old. This is a team that was 30th in points scored (275) and 26th in yards gained (5,268) in 2016. They also do not have WR Brandon Marshall and C Nick Mangold returning. They were the 32nd ranked fantasy tight end team last year. They do not have a settled quarterback situation and their skill position players are lacking.
What I do not understand about this team is their utter contempt for skill position players on offense at the top of the NFL Draft. Since 2000, the only three players they have taken in the first round are WR Santana Moss (2001), TE Dustin Keller (2008) and QB Mark Sanchez (2009). The last player they drafted at a skill position that made the Pro Bowl while on their roster was WR Keyshawn Johnson, who was drafted in 1996 first overall and made the Pro Bowl for them in 1998 and 1999. Until this franchise commits to offense at the top of the NFL Draft, they are always going to struggle to be an effective offense, especially given their track record of not finding Pro Bowl offensive skill position players on Day 2 and Day 3.
2) The Same Incompetence Exists for the Chicago Bears – I thought the Bears demonstrated that they did not have a front office capable of handling the NFL Draft. CBS Sports Jason La Conforda had two quotes from unnamed NFL Executives. “We don’t know what the hell they were doing. It’s all anyone is talking about. It’s really bad between Pace and Fox. Fox is fuming about being left in the dark on the trade (for UNC QB Mitchell Trubisky). I don’t know anyone who likes their draft. From the first pick on, we can’t figure out what they were doing. Go back and look at how many small-school kids they took. People around the league are shocked. It’s really bad between Pace and Fox.”
Another executive from another team noted: “Either the Bears know something no one else in the league knows, or that draft just got a lot of people fired only they don’t know it yet.” This is a team who has RB Jordan Howard and little else. They only had five picks in this draft and used a fourth round pick on a running back. They took a tight end from Ashland (Adam Shaheen) and a guard from Kutztown (PA) (Jordan Morgan). Their best receiver remains WR Cameron Meredith. They have a quarterback that started only 13 games in college and who was not able to start in 2015, because he could not beat out QB Marquise Williams. Trubisky is likely to start the season on the bench behind QB Mike Glennon and Pace and Fox probably need to make the playoffs to save their jobs. It is going to be a long 2017 in Chicago, especially after this draft.
3) The Cleveland Browns Built on their Solid Day 1 – Cleveland had the most ammo in this draft and I think they build on their solid Day 1, where they added Texas A & M DE Myles Garrett, Michigan S Jabrill Peppers and Miami TE David Njoku. They did not panic in the first round and reach for a quarterback and Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer fell into their lap with the 52nd pick. North Carolina DT Larry Ogunjobi should give them some pass rush on the defensive line. Florida State OT Roderick Johnson will not be ready to play this year, but will have the chance to learn behind future Hall of Fame OT Joe Thomas.
The only thing they did that was confusing is draft Florida DT Caleb Brantley. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, reported that a league source said a coach told every team Brantley talked to “stay away even if undrafted.” Brantley had some off-the-field issues, as he was recently arrested for punching a woman and knocking her unconscious. He currently faces misdemeanor battery charges. The Browns even said they may not keep him, so I do not know why the drafted him in the first place.
A good under the radar pick was Arizona State K Zane Gonzalez. The Browns were terrible at kicking field goals last year and they added one of the most accurate kickers in NCAA history. All in all Cleveland could have added five starters in this draft and possibly some more depth. About the only mistake they made was on Brantley and that was a sixth round pick. Cleveland fans have to be happy with the progress this team is making.
4) Green Bay, Oakland and Dallas Drafted some Defensive Help – All three of these teams had Top 10 offenses in points scored and yards gained last year. Green Bay and Oakland had defenses that ranked in the 20s in yards allowed and points allowed. Dallas was fifth in points allowed and 14th in yards allowed, but lost five starters on defense in the off-season. All three of these teams needed to come away with multiple starters on defense.
Green Bay added Washington CB Kevin King, NC State S Josh Jones, Auburn DT Montravius Adams and Wisconsin OLB Vince Biegel. Oakland added Ohio State CB Gareon Conley, UConn S Obi Melifonwu, UCLA DT Eddie Vanderdoes in the first three rounds. Dallas added Michigan DE Taco Charlton, Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie and Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis in the first three rounds.
Chances are that not all of those players will pan out, but all three teams needed to add a lot of pieces on defense and all of them tried to upgrade their defense in the NFL Draft. I love all of these picks and think these players can contribute at the NFL level. If those picks work out, it will keep all three teams in playoff contention in 2017.
5) The Buffalo Bills Quietly had a Good NFL Draft – It still amazes me that the fired GM Doug Whaley a day after the NFL Draft. They also fired their entire scouting department. It probably would have made more sense to make those moves back in January, but they still seemed to have a good draft. They traded into the back of the first round to pick up a first round selection in 2018. They were still able to land LSU CB Tre’Davious White in that spot. He could be a starter this year and comes from a great cornerback school.
In the second round, they added East Carolina WR Zay Jones. He played at a small school in a pass happy offense, but still tallied 158 receptions for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns. In the third round, they took G Dion Dawkins. He should give them some great depth on the offensive line. They also make have found the steal of the NFL Draft with Pittsburgh QB Nathan Peterman going at the end of the fifth round. If QB Tyrod Taylor struggles, they have a quarterback that ran a pro style offense that will be ready to play in 2017. That is a great value in the fifth round.
6) It was very Interesting that the Arizona Cardinals did not Draft a Quarterback – The one team that I thought would address quarterback that did not is Arizona. Cardinals QB Carson Palmer is going to turn 38-years old in December and he declined a lot in 2016. His YPA dropped from 8.7 to 7.1, his sack percentage increased from 4.4 to 6.3 percent, his QB rating went from 104.6 to 87.2 and his completion percentage dropped from 63.7 to 61.0 percent.
The backup on the roster is QB Drew Stanton and the third stringer is Zac Dysert. They really needed to add an insurance policy in case Palmer goes down with an injury or his play continues to decline. In the fifth round, they could have taken Peterman with the 157th pick and had a player that ran a pro style offense in college and could possibly play this year if needed. Instead, they took Vanderbilt OT Will Holden, who is likely to be a backup offensive lineman the next couple years. If Palmer regresses or is injured in 2017, they may regret the decision not to add a quarterback in the NFL Draft and instead addressing backup tackle.
7) NFL Teams Tried to Build Super Offenses – There were a number of teams that went heavy on offense in the NFL Draft this year. The Los Angeles Chargers followed up taking WR Mike Williams with Western Kentucky G Forrest Lamp and Indiana G Dan Feeney. They may have reworked their offensive line and become one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Alabama TE O.J. Howard in the first round, Penn State WR Chris Godwin in the third round and Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols in the fifth round. All those players could contribute this year to an offense that already has WR Mike Evans, WR DeSean Jackson and TE Cameron Brate. This team is loaded and could be a 500 point offense waiting to happen.
The Cincinnati Bengals added two premier offensive weapons in this Draft, going with Washington WR John Ross and Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon. That offense could be ready to dominate as well. This offense already has QB Andy Dalton, WR A.J. Green and TE Tyler Eifert. If their offensive line can protect Dalton, he will have a ton of options to throw the ball to on offense.
It will be interesting to see if either of these three offenses can eclipse 500 points in 2017, my guess is that the Buccaneers could be destined to be one of the best offenses in the league in QB Jameis Winston’s third year. They did not have a ton of weapons for him last year, but they should be ready to put on a show in 2017.
8) The Baltimore Ravens Bucked the Offense Trend – The Baltimore Ravens had a Top-10 defense last year and they kept adding defense in this draft. They took Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey, Houston LB Tyus Bowser, Michigan DE Chris Wormley and Alabama LB Tim Williams with their first four picks. If those guys are ready to contribute this year, this defense could be very scary.
They did not add a running back or wide receiver in this draft and the only position they addressed on offense was guard, as they took San Diego State G Nico Siragusaa and Texas A & M G Jermaine Eluemunor. If they struggle at those positions, it will be fair to ask if they should have addressed offense with any of their picks in the first, second or third round.
9) Seattle Found Little Offensive Line Help – Seattle has one of the best front offices in the NFL, so I hate to question a front office that brought a Super Bowl to Seattle in 2013, a Super Bowl appearance in 2014 and has been in the Divisional Round every season since 2012. I did not understand their draft philosophy when Pro Football Focus gave their offensive line the worst grade in the NFL. Pro Football Focus had this to say about the offensive line, “The success Seattle has experienced this season is entirely in spite of its offensive line, and requires QB Russell Wilson and the running backs to play stellar football to continue to overcome the unit’s deficiencies.”
It would have made sense to add a couple offensive lineman early in the draft to create some competition at that spot. Instead, they used their second round pick on LSU C Ethan Pocic. He plays the position that their best graded lineman played last year, C Justin Britt. They also took Mississippi OT Justin Senior in the sixth round with the 210th pick. I thought they would have taken a guard or tackle before the 210th pick, if their line remains a flaming train wreck in 2017, the front office will have some questions to answer.
10) Record NFL Draft for Defensive Back Help – ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that 19 defensive backs drafted through 2 rounds shatters Common Draft Era record. Richard Johnson and Jason Kirk of SB Nation wrote that by the time Day 2 was over, 29 DBs had been taken out of the first 107 picks. By the time that entire draft was over, 32 corners and 24 safeties were selected, meaning just over 20 percent of all drafted players were in the secondary.
It will be interesting to see what impact that has on the league. One trend that has been happening since 2004 is an explosion in passing numbers. When 56 defensive backs are added to NFL rosters, that could be a big win for pass defense. There were several contending teams from last year that struggled in the area of pass defense that were able to add impact help on Day 2 and Day 3 of the NFL Draft. If these players pan out, it may mean that quarterbacks have a tougher time throwing the ball with this class being added to NFL rosters.