The NFL Network is in the process of gradually revealing its ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016, airing a new episode each week that unveils 10 players at a time.
The reveal of the NFL’s list of the league’s top 100 rookies for 2016 was less ceremonial. The whole thing landed quietly all at once as an NFL.com article last week.
Surprisingly, the second-ranked rookie was former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, whose talent is unquestioned but whose injury history allowed him to fall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the draft. Since the top 100 rookies list is based on who the experts think will make the biggest impact next season — and because some observers still doubt whether Jack will be able to play next season — it was an interesting choice. Continue reading
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, KeiVarae Russell, NFL, Su'a Cravens, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III
During the most recent NFL postseason, I jokingly suggested to my cousin that every linebacker and safety in the league needed to meet somewhere in secret to discuss what they were going to do about Rob Gronkowski.
It seems none of them can solve the puzzle of keeping the Patriots’ superstar tight end in check, and Gronk isn’t getting any easier to cover as defenses see more and more of him. Even the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos and their critically acclaimed defense got lit up by Gronk for 144 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship game.
If the NFL’s linebackers and safeties were to get together sometime between today and the start of the 2016 season, the first order of business wouldn’t be the Gronk crisis — it would be the identity crisis that is beginning to afflict their respective positions. Continue reading
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft, Deone Bucannon, Jeremy Cash, Justin Simmons, Keanu Neal, Mark Barron, Miles Killebrew, NCAA, NFL, Rob Gronkowski, Su'a Cravens
More than 50 defensive backs were selected in this year’s NFL Draft — 52 to be exact, if you include Washington-bound linebacker/safety hybrid and second-round pick Su’a Cravens. That figure is up from 46 the previous year.
Seven DBs were taken in this year’s first round; up from five a year ago. And while the first DB drafted last year wasn’t called until the 11th overall pick (Vikings CB Trae Waynes), three DBs went in the top-11 this year: No. 5 Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars, No. 10 Eli Apple to the Giants, and No. 11 Vernon Hargreaves III to the Buccaneers.
With each (no pun intended) passing year, it would appear defensive backs are becoming more valuable in the NFL. Just look at the salaries that the league’s best veteran DBs command in free agency, and look at how many rookies DBs are popping up on the draft tracker. Continue reading
Unlike the NBA Draft, the NFL Draft’s unpredictability is not so much in whether or not the top college stars will be selected, but where they’ll be selected.
Because the NFL has seven rounds instead of two, and 250-plus picks instead of 60, it’s a pretty big surprise when a highly decorated college football star isn’t drafted at all. The NFL has had more than a few veterans who were undrafted and eventually became standout pros — some of them Hall of Famers — but usually those gems were understandably under-the-radar college players. It may be later than expected (Michael Sam), but award-winning talent from high-major NCAA programs typically hear their names called.
So consider it a notable surprise when Duke safety Jeremy Cash was not among the 29 defensive backs chosen on the final day of the 2016 NFL Draft — nor was he one of the 16 DBs taken on Day 2, or one of the seven DBs selected in the first round. Continue reading
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft, D.J. White, Eric Murray, Harlan Miller, Jayron Kearse, Jeremy Cash, K.J. Dillon, NFL, Tavon Young, Will Parks, Zack Sanchez
If you were still unsure just how important defensive backs have become in today’s pass-happy NFL, the 2016 draft should provide some pretty compelling evidence.
Thursday’s first round saw seven defensive backs selected; tied with defensive linemen and offensive linemen as the most popular position group. In Friday’s second and third rounds, as many as 16 defensive backs were chosen (there’s one hybrid linebacker-type in the group), 10 of them by teams who made the playoffs this past season.
The Day 2 group of defensive backs was led by Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard, and featured Clemson teammates Mackensie Alexander and T.J. Green. The maybe-maybe-not DB of the bunch was USC’s Su’a Cravens, who was announced as a linebacker during the draft but played some safety in college and could eventually line up at safety in the pros. Continue reading
The 2016 NFL Draft started with a pair of quarterbacks, and toward the end of Thursday’s first round, another QB provided the most authentically emotional moment of the night.
Then there was the twisting, turning story line involving a 315-pound offensive lineman and some social media skullduggery that sent him on a Warren Sapp-like slide down the draft board.
And added to the mix were some crazy red-carpet outfits, one adorable scene-stealing toddler, a handful of unexpected picks and some interesting trades.
Almost lost in all of that was the fact that no position group had a better first round than the defensive backs, a group headlined by No. 5 overall pick Jalen Ramsey, the Florida State corner-slash-safety who is headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Continue reading