Welcome to a new segment here on The Sports Guys. Each week, I will give you five thoughts on five different topics in sports. This week, we will start with the NFL Draft. I haven’t been on much to give my thoughts about the draft as a whole. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and take an in-depth look at all 25 thoughts about the draft.
5 Best Drafts
It’s always difficult to project who won a draft only a month after the draft starts. But, if you look at value at spots, along with filling key needs, it’s much easier to find actual winners. Here they are.
San Francisco 49ers – You could look at the first round alone and know that the Niners came away big. First, the trade back with the Bears sets them up with more mid-round picks down the road. Then, you land Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster, who are both top five players in this draft. They will immediately contribute on defense. The Niners also added a tall, physical corner in Ahkello Witherspoon. He will come in and compete for reps right away. You can’t forget about Joe Williams and George Kittle. Williams could bring a spark to the running game, provided he stays clean off the field. Kittle brings versatility to the tight end spot. There were a lot of holes on this team, and many will be filled.
Baltimore Ravens – All the Ravens did here was continue to add more defensive pieces. Pass rush was an important need to address, and nabbing both Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser will do wonders off the edge. Plus, you can move Bowser to linebacker. Marlon Humphrey will be a big piece in the secondary with his physicality. Chris Wormley will be solid on the interior against the run. The Ravens also added Nico Siragusa, a draft crush of mine, to help protect Flacco and abuse defenders in the run game. Baltimore continues to reload come draft time.
Los Angeles Chargers – New city, new team? The Chargers have continued to improve on defense, but they’ve always struggled along the offensive line. So, of course, who would’ve thought that the Chargers would add the top two guards in the draft. Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney will both provide Philip Rivers with a cleaner pocket and help out third year back Melvin Gordon. The Chargers also added depth at wide receiver, snagging Mike Williams in round one. Williams, combined with Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, and Tyrell Williams, makes for a very solid group. LA also needed help on the back end, and it was a surprise they didn’t draft Malik Hooker. Instead, they opted for two safeties later in the draft. Desmond King could become a valuable piece on that defense, switching often between corner and safety.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – This offense is going to be scary. It wasn’t enough for them to add DeSean Jackson in free agency. Nope. Tampa Bay went offense with two of their first three picks. OJ Howard can do it all as a tight end, and he will stretch the field to be a great target for Jameis Winston. Chris Godwin was a favorite of mine, and he can come in and be the number three guy. But, I believe he will develop into a very good number two. Jeremy McNichols (Boise State) will help out in the passing game at running back. Even with all the offensive additions, they didn’t leave defense alone. Kendell Beckwith and Justin Evans will have a chance to add to a rising defense.
Dallas Cowboys – Dallas needs defensive playmakers, and this draft was full of potential. The Cowboys went for it in round one, taking Taco Charlton. Charlton is a big, strong rusher with huge potential. They also upgraded the secondary. Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis will contribute right away, and Xavier Woods will have that opportunity soon after. Ryan Switzer was another nice add on offense. He has great quickness and wicked moves off the line. Putting him with that receiver group should provide Prescott with more opportunities in the middle of the field.
5 Biggest Losers
Again, this is difficult to project, but I’ll give my thoughts.
Chicago Bears – I don’t want to condemn the Mitch Trubisky pick, because who knows what will happen. What I will say is that it was a mistake, but not why most believe it was. The Bears gave up mid round picks that could have been used to rebuild their team. They put a lot of eggs in Trubisky’s basket, along with a developmental tight end in Adam Shaheen. Tarik Cohen is a playmaker at running back, but he also needs time to develop.
Oakland Raiders – I really want to see the Raiders succeed, but this wasn’t their best draft. Gareon Conley was a steal because of the sexual assault report. But, Obi Melifonwu is a stretch considering teams aren’t sure where to play him. Eddie Vanderdoes has major questions against the run. They did add a couple bodies along the offensive line, but they will have to develop into good pros. Oakland left a lot of doubt in this draft class.
Every Team Who Passed On Foster – I truly have faith in Foster being the next generational talent at linebacker, and I will continue to roll with it. Foster dropped for a couple reasons, but as long as his shoulder is okay, he will make an immediate impact. Teams who needed linebackers, such as New Orleans, Miami, and Oakland, passed on him in favor of other guys. I think teams will look back three years from now and kick themselves for passing on Reuben Foster.
Teams Who Didn’t Get a Corner – This draft was one of the deepest at corner ever, according to scouts and draft analysts. Plenty of teams jumped on the bandwagon and grabbed a corner in this draft. Some, like Philly and Dallas, grabbed two. A couple teams, like the Texans and Giants, get exempted because of their depth. But, there are teams who should have pulled the trigger. The Bears, Bengals, Rams, Chiefs, and Vikings were teams that passed early that should have grabbed a corner in this draft.
Early QB Takers – The Bears, Chiefs, and Texans all traded up to grab quarterbacks early. If it works out, that’s great. If it doesn’t, the fans of the organizations will be all over you for the pick. Plus, this draft didn’t have that extremely special quarterback that had the “take him first” label. So, the teams who moved up and gave away top picks will be under a microscope in the next few years. There was so much depth passed on in the draft with these teams moving up.
5 Great Fits
Curtis Samuel to Carolina – Everyone is talking about the McCaffrey pick, and rightfully so. But it’s time to give this pick some love, too. Curtis Samuel can be a lot like McCaffrey in this offense. He will line up in the backfield, but also develop into a slot receiver that can take advantage of matchups. I can’t wait to see how Mike Shula uses him.
Duke Riley to Falcons – This could become an excellent pairing. The Falcons drafted his teammate Deion Jones in round two last year. Now, they add Riley, who is a sub package linebacker, but an effective one. Riley can do a lot in open space, and become another chees piece that Atlanta uses on defense.
Dalvin Tomlinson to Giants – A perfect refill by the Giants with Jonathan Hankins gone. Tomlinson can come in right away and keep that front four strong. While Damon Harrison is a run stopper, Tomlinson can stand up linemen and push the line back to collapse pockets. Those two will complement each other well.
Haason Reddick and Budda Baker to Cardinals – It was hard leaving off Arizona as one of the best drafts. Haason Reddick will come in right away and be moved around. He may come off the edge at times, and he will also be an off ball linebacker. Budda Baker brings a similar type of versatility. He can play on the back end at safety or move down to play some slot corner. Add these two to the defense, and you have a very good unit.
Jabrill Peppers to Browns – It’s hard to find an exact position for Peppers to play. He will move around to be a matchup guy early on, and his landing spot makes him more lethal. Gregg Williams is now the defensive coordinator in Cleveland, and he has the ability to find spots for hybrid defenders to play. Peppers has the work ethic and drive to be a good player, and he landed in a great spot.
5 Day Three Players Who Will Make An Impact
Carl Lawson, Bengals – Lawson was one of the biggest steals in the draft. When he is healthy, he’s one of the best pass rushers in the draft. The Bengals needed some help off the edge, and Lawson could have a big impact in year one and beyond.
Damontae Kazee, Falcons – You can never have enough corners, and even though Desmond Trufant is returning, there’s room to improve. Kazee is a very physical slot corner who packs a punch. He could end up starting by the end of the season.
Deatrich Wise Jr., Patriots – The Patriots didn’t have many picks in the draft, but they made their mark. Wise will be a rotational player off the edge, but he has versatility to move all over the line.
Desmond King, Chargers – I love what the Chargers did in the draft, and getting King in the fifth round was big time. King can play corner or safety, and he has the ball skills to get on the field early.
George Kittle, 49ers – Kittle is a tight end who can do everything well. He’s not great at one thing, but he’s good at everything. He will get on the field early with the lack of depth at tight end, so he can make an impact.
5 Predictions For This Rookie Class
Watson wins OROY – Fournette could take this away from him, but Watson has the best chance. Odds are that he starts at some point this season, if not week one. Watson has the leadership and has the tools to succeed in the NFL. Plus, he has weapons around him to make plays and alleviate pressure.
Foster wins DROY – Pass rushers and corners dominated the draft, and some will make a big impact in year one. But, Reuben Foster, assuming he’s healthy, will be dominant for the Niners.
Down the road, Sidney Jones could be best CB in class – The cornerback class is fantastic, and many will be making an impact soon. But, down the road, Sidney Jones could be the best in the class. He has the length and instincts to cover anyone, and he reminds me a bit of Sherman. Guys like Lattimore and Wilson will challenge him, but Jones has another level.
Don’t Sleep On The Chargers – The Chargers rookie class has a chance to be special. I have covered how good their draft looked, and many guys can be cornerstones for the team. They are a rising group, and with Lamp and Feeney protecting Rivers, the Chargers are a very great threat in the AFC West.
What are your thoughts on this rookie class? Comment below and find us on Twitter!
Jake Schyvinck covers the NFL and the NFL Draft for The Sports Guys. He is also the Chiefs editor at cover32.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSchyvinck13.