Sorry if I’m not so sorry about the plight of the football player who slides a few picks lower than expected in the NFL Draft.
While there are some truly unfortunate bigger-picture areas of concern — e.g., would Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson have been chosen much higher than 32nd overall if he weren’t Black? — for the most part, a guy who had top-10 dreams but winds up at the end of the first round or going in the second round is still in very good shape for his pro career moving forward.
My sympathy lies more with the players who are still waiting for that life-changing phone call on Day 3 of the draft. The ones who weren’t picked in the first three rounds, who go into the final day of the draft having to confront the possibility that they may not get selected. Continue reading
The NFL Draft is an opportunity for some teams to change the direction of their franchise with one superstar selection. Other teams who don’t need a savior can stay among the upper echelon by simply adding depth to a position that is already a strength. Other teams that are a few pieces away from contending can use the draft to give an entire position group a makeover.
On Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers used their second-round pick on Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson; that came after the Packers used their first-round pick on Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander.
For a team that finished 31st in the league last season in Passer Rating allowed, 29th in passing touchdowns allowed and 23rd in passing yards allowed on its way to missing the playoffs, placing an emphasis on improving the secondary was a must. Continue reading
In the months leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, Ohio State’s Denzel Ward was widely considered the best cornerback in the pool. Cornerback also happens to be one of the most coveted positions in the NFL.
So why was it such a surprise — drawing a harmonized “Whoa!” from the NFL Network’s TV panel of experts — when Ward was the first defensive back chosen in Thursday’s first round?
Probably because in a vast majority of mock drafts, the first defensive back to come off the board was a safety: Either Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, or Florida State’s Derwin James. That Ward went No. 4 overall to the Cleveland Browns was also a surprise, as many prognosticators had the Browns taking NC State pass-rusher Bradley Chubb in that spot. Continue reading
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
1. Devin McCourty, FS, Patriots (NFL) — Not one of New England’s defensive backs had a standout game statistically. Nobody made a very memorable big play or forced a takeaway. So, McCourty gets this spot under the Kawhi Leonard/Andre Iguodala NBA Finals MVP criteria: It’s not so much what he did, it’s more about what he prevented someone else from doing.
Just like Leonard and Iguodala were rewarded primarily for not allowing LeBron James to completely dominate the 2014 and 2015 Finals, respectively, McCourty’s biggest accomplishment in the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI is that he didn’t allow Atlanta WR Julio Jones to dominate the game. Continue reading
In the 80-year history of the NFL Draft, only once has a defensive back been taken with the No. 1 overall pick. That was all the way back in 1956, when the Pittsburgh Steelers took safety Gary Glick out of Colorado A&M (now known as Colorado State). Glick, who was also a kicker, played seven years in the league with the Steelers, Colts, Chargers and Washington. He finished his career with 14 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries.
Six decades later, 2016 was shaping up to be the year in which a defensive back went No. 1 in the draft again.
The league was ready for it. Continue reading
Tags: Darian Thompson, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, Mackensie Alexander, Morgan Burns, NCAA, NFL, NFL Draft, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III