What is better than the NFL Draft? How about taking the draft cap off and putting it back on? Here are some of the more interesting picks from this year’s draft.
The Cowboys traded up and got their man at 6th overall. They still left some needs on the table but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Jerry Jones traded up to make sure he fixed the biggest problem his team has had in recent years.
Needs to Produce: Morris Claiborne CB, Louisiana St. No surprise here, they traded both their 1st and 2nd round selections in order to move up and select arguably the best CB in the draft. The Cowboys CBs have been atrocious in recent years and they wanted to make sure they solved that problem once and for all. Claiborne should work well with free agent acquisition Brandon Carr but with the scrutiny that comes with being a starter on “America’s team” we’ll see if Claiborne can handle that pressure.
Under the Radar Values: Tyrone Crawford DE, Boise St. While Crawford was selected right where he was supposed to be selected it was a good pick for the Cowboys. Crawford will offer up some stout run defense and already has a good body to play DE in a 3-4 alignment. Even though DE was one of Dallas’s lesser needs I think they got a really nice prospect in the 3rd round in Crawford. He didn’t go up against the greatest competition but he’ll learn and adjust.
Huh?: This doesn’t go to any player they selected but to a position they didn’t bother selecting. The Cowboys could really use some interior offensive linemen to open up holes for their RBs but decided not to select any. It could be argued that some very fine OL prospects were taken right before the Cowboys’ first selection in the 4th round but Brandon Mosley would have made a nice addition. Not to mention a better prospect in Ronnell Lewis at OLB was selected right after Dallas selected Kyle Wilber at the same position. Perhaps they new something that the draft gurus didn’t but it does seem they could have used one of their 4th rounders to land a better prospect.
New York Giants
The Giants had a solid draft but nothing that really stands out. They addressed some needs and got a few good value picks but nothing that is going to blow you away.
Needs to Produce: David Wilson RB, Virginia Tech. With Brandon Jacobs finally moving on the Giants needed to address the power back position that they require to be so effective running the ball. Wilson is a solid prospect but a bit of a reach in the 1st round, although he most likely would not have been there when the Giants selected in the 2nd. Hopefully Wilson will be able to be Brandon Jacobs without all the complaining and nonsense. The Bucs jumped in front of New York to select Doug Martin so one has to assume the Giants really wanted Martin but settled for Wilson.
Under the Radar Values: Rueben Randle WR, Louisiana St and Brandon Mosley OT, Auburn. Randle fell into their laps with the last pick in the 2nd round and the Giants capitalized. They are looking to replace Mario Manningham and while Randle might be a little raw I think he’ll end up being one of the best WRs from this class. Mosley was also good value in the late 4th. He probably shouldn’t start right away and has little experience playing OT (he just started playing there three years ago) but he is a beast in run blocking and could end up playing a little G too if the Giants need it.
Huh?: There’s nothing to glaring here. They might have been able to use their 3rd round pick to select a falling Bobby Massie or a TE like Lardarius Green but that isn’t a be all end all sort of thing. While New York got good value in Randle and Mosley the rest of their picks were either fair value or reaches. It may have been better for them to trade out of the 1st round and stockpile a few picks.
If I were ranking individual teams’ drafts I would give the Eagles the #1 overall spot. They got great value at positions of need and seemingly came out with a king’s ransom.
Needs to Produce: Mychal Kendricks MLB, California. The Eagles suffered from some of the worst MLB play I have ever seen last year. Everyone they put at that spot was overmatched and could only hope the ball carrier ran right into their arms. Kendricks is a great 2nd round pick and should become the instant starter in Philly. In fact he should feel almost no pressure at all to get things done because he can be no worse than the sieve the position was last year.
Under the Radar Values: Basically any pick they made was good value, specifically though I’d say Nick Foles QB, Arizona and Marvin McNutt WR, Iowa. Foles is a very good developmental prospect, many had him as a 1st round talent but he began to fall when they realized he didn’t really progress through his reads. Still, in the 3rd round Foles has all the tools to be a very nice QB in the future and not being pressed into duty too soon will only help him develop. McNutt is one of my personal favorite players. I had seen him ranked as high as a 3rd rounder but no lower than 4th. Him falling to the 6th round is ludicrous. He has only played WR for three years as he originally started out as a QB at Iowa and he soon broke a ton of single season WR records at Iowa. He isn’t a blazer but he has good speed and can become a very good route runner. I really like his upside and could see him becoming a Steve Johnson type receiver down the line.
Huh?: I’ve got nothing here, Like I said they addressed all their needs and got great value on all of their picks.
Clearly this draft will be defined by Robert Griffin III, so I won’t even bother to list a “Needs to Produce” section. I do think they got some solid value later in the draft though on a few of their picks.
Under the Radar Values: Adam Gettis G, Iowa and Tom Compton OT, South Dakota. I really like both of these later round picks especially since the Redskins need OL help. Gettis went in the 5th and fits great in Shanahan’s zone run blocking scheme as that is what Iowa ran as well. He isn’t a great physical specimen but he should be a solid G that’ll be great depth and fine as a spot starter. Compton is another one of my favorite late round prospects. He’s coming from the FCS Division and will definitely need time to develop but has very nice size and went a little lower than most were expecting. He needs to work on his blocking but his ability to pick up blitzes and his toughness make him a very malleable prospect. I would not be surprised to see Compton being a pretty good starting OT at some point in his career.
Huh?: Josh LeRiebus G, Southern Methodist. Many might think Kirk Cousins is the questionable pick, I don’t though. Cousins will be a very nice backup QB in the league and he might end up being one of those backups that could be nice trade bait down the line. LeRiebus is a much more puzzling selection. While the Redskins needed interior OL help there were still higher ranked prospects on the board (mainly Brandon Brooks, who was selected by Houston a few spots afterwards and had a late-2nd round grade). It will be interesting to see how LeRiebus does this upcoming season as I’m sure he’ll be pressed into starting duty early.