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 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
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