Another NFL draft has concluded. While grades were posted immediately after the card for Mr. Irrelevant was handed in, a draft truly can’t be evaluated until 2-3 years later when we really find out whether these former college stars will sink or swim in this league.
Here is a quick look at some of the big takeaways from this weekend.
A New Scherff in D.C.
A lot of people were surprised that the Washington Redskins went with Iowa’s Brandon Scherff with the No. 5 overall pick. Leonard Williams was still on the board and while he might not be the best fit Washington’s 3-4 scheme, it could have been a good trade opportunity with another team.
In retrospect this pick looks great. The Skins have added a guy to their roster that can play multiple positions on the offensive line. This move also says a lot about Scot McCloughan’s philosophy when it comes to team building. When he was with San Francisco and Seattle he was part of front offices that put heavy emphasis on putting together powerful offensive and defensive lines. McCloughan addressed much of the needs on the defensive line via free agency this off-season. His selection of Scherff confirms his commitment to upgrading the big boys on the other side of the ball.
Byron Jones Gives Cowboys Breathing Room with Uncertainty at Corner
Even though Dallas has three potential starters at corner under contract the reality is a lot different than it is on paper. It is still unknown if Brandon Carr will take a pay cut and if he won’t his days in Big D might be numbered. Morris Claiborne (in the last year of his rookie deal) is coming back from injury and his play thus far for his career has been nothing short of disappointing considering where the Cowboys traded up to get him in the 2012 draft. The Cowboys best corner Orlando Scandrick, is scheduled to make chump change this season and has chosen to skip team voluntary workouts displaying his displeasure when it comes to his earnings.
Combine workout wonder Byron Jones could be a big sigh of relief for the front office and coaching staff. The consensus is Dallas made a solid selection with the No. 27 overall pick which could light a fire under the veteran corners with contract quandaries. The former UConn Husky’s unique athleticism also gives him the ability to play safety as well.
Oh Yeah that Randy Gregory Guy
Randy Gregory became a household name Friday night not because where he was drafted, but because of where he wasn’t drafted. Gregory’s bad timing of off the field issues took a huge toll on his draft status. The likely otherwise top 10 selection dropped to No. 60 overall when Dallas scooped him up.
The Cowboys got a gift and a lot of fans on social media were stunned that he wasn’t taken any earlier in second round. Gregory was a ferocious pass rusher at Nebraska, but fans and spectators need to be patient because this product still needs some polishing. Gregory is 6’6″, but only weighs 235 lbs. That is 20 lbs below the league’s average defensive end. This kid probably needs a little time to really grow into his body. He did put up 24 reps on the bench press at the combine and when you consider his long arms and low weight that is pretty impressive. Can you imagine the power gains he could accumulate if he is able to bulk up?
Running Back Not Selected by Cowboys Despite Deep Class
Jerry Jones said running back wasn’t a “must” for the Cowboys heading into the draft. He wasn’t bluffing as Dallas did not feel it was a huge area of concern despite losing the league’s leading rusher DeMarco Murray via free agency to the rival Eagles.
There are a couple of theories as to why the Boys did not draft a running back. For one it could be they like the running backs they have. Even if they don’t have one that can be the workhorse Murray was they have guys that do different things well and possibly think they can replace the production with multiple backs instead of finding a Murray clone. The second reason being is that the Cowboys are truly sticking to their draft board and found more pressing needs with offensive line depth and defense. Many of the players selected on Saturday they will likely count on to improve their special teams units which played below expectations last season.
No Mariota for Philly
It’s no secret that Chip Kelly wanted Marcus Mariota so bad he would have almost traded the Liberty Bell for him. Keyword “almost”. Kelly offered a lot, but at the end of the day he stuck to his word saying he would not mortgage the organization’s future which is what the Titans wanted him to do for that No. 2 pick.
Many names of veteran players were rumored to be part of a possible trade package in order to acquire Mariota. With these players staying on the roster it makes one wonder if there will be any kind of repercussions for this? Perhaps a rift between Kelly and these guys? The mysteries of Chip Kelly’s master plan continue.
Finally a Receiver for the Birds
DeSean Jackson was let go and Jeremy Maclin opted for Kansas City meaning the Eagles lost two Pro Bowl receivers in back to back years. Chip Kelly has taken some criticism for letting so much production walk out the door with no sense of urgency for a suitable replacement.
Unable to land Mariota, Eagle fans got an answer at wide out with the selection of Nelson Agholor. Agholor was the fourth receiver in selected in the first round Thursday night. He might not have the superstar potential that the three taken before him do, but he could turn out to be a solid No. 1 receiver for years to come in a system in which Jackson, Maclin, and Riley Cooper all experienced career highs in receiving yards.
Kelly Stocking the Pantry for Defense
We’ve seen offensive minded head coaches, especially those with strong philosophies (or big egos) invest heavy on that particular side of the ball. After selecting USC’s Nelson Agholor, the remaining five of the Eagles draft picks all were used on defensive players. As crazy as we think that mad offensive scientist of a coach Chip Kelly might be, at least he is not ignoring the defense in his new role as GM. Kelly knows he can’t afford to have his defense give up the plays they did last season down the stretch that cost them a playoff spot.
Giants Had No Choice but to Reach for Flowers
When the Giants drafted University Miami OT Ereck Flowers with the ninth overall pick many experts considered it somewhat of a desperation move. Well it was. But can you blame them? The Giants offensive line was putrid last year and former first round selection Justin Pugh has yet to live up to where he was selected a couple years ago.
Flowers has all the tools to be a very good tackle in this league. If he his coachable at the next level then he could very well be worthy of his selection after all. His presence may also give the Giants the luxury of moving Pugh inside to guard. Is Flowers the next Tyron Smith or Alex Barron? Bet that he’ll never be as good as Smith, but never as bad as Barron. If he can at least be an adequate starter in his rookie season the Giants will be satisfied.
G-Men’s Day 2 Picks Already Reminiscent of Championship Stars
When the Giants did not re-sign two-time All-Pro safety Antrel Rolle it made an already suspect secondary that much weaker. The Giants took an aggressive approach in finding Rolle’s replacement by trading up to the first spot of the second round to grab Landon Collins. Collins is the same height as Rolle and unlike other Alabama safeties he’s got incredible ball instincts. Collins also outweighs Rolle by about 20 lbs which means he has the potential to be a much more physical player that can be an immediate impact starter.
Collins isn’t the only Giants draft pick drawing similarities to a former Big Blue All-Pro. UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa name may be harder to pronounce than Osi Umenyiora, but he is already being compared to Justin Tuck who was also a third round selection. Like Tuck, Odighizuwa also has the size to play both defensive end and defensive tackle. Steve Spagnuolo, who was the defensive coordinator during Tuck’s best seasons, is back with the Giants in the same role. Think he didn’t have any influence on that pick?