Not everything is scripted during the draft. Teams and GM’s absolutely have to react to what’s going on ahead of them, what teams may trade up and steal their targeted player, and what positions are running thin on talent. This report looks at each position, offense and defense, asking questions and exploring options as to what might happen during the draft.
Quarterback: Will four QB’s be drafted in the 1st round, and when will the next wave of QB’s be drafted?
As of 4/24, I feel QB Weeden will be the 4th QB chosen. Cleveland can choose him at #37, or move up earlier in the 2nd round if they hear that KC or someone else if trying to jump ahead of them. All this assumes Miami drafts Tannehill. There will not be a long QB run, but Osweiler and Cousins should be 2nd round picks as well.
Running Back: When will the “run on RB’s” take place?
It starts at or near pick #32 with the NYG. Right now Martin or Wilson may start the run, which will also include Lamar Miller, and guys like Pead and James. Teams who fail to get in on this run may trade up to get Turbin, Gray or Polk.
Wide Receiver: How many WR’s go in the 1st round, and will we see a WR frenzy during the draft.
LSU’s Randle and GT’s Hill could make WR a 5-spot in the 1st round. These WR’s and perhaps WR Jeffrey should be long gone by the early 2nd round. There will be a pair of WR runs in the draft. Look for 4-6 WR’s chosen in a short period of time during the 3rd round, and again in the mid-to-late 4th or sometime during the 5th round. Teams will panic once WR’s start flying off the board.
Tight End: When does the 2nd TE come off the board and will there be a TE run in this draft?
This is by far the weakest and thinnest TE crop I’ve seen in quite a long time. I usually give numerical ratings to about 10-12 TE’s, and * (also-eligible) ratings to another 5-6. It looks like I will have only about 5-6 numerically rated TE’s in this draft. With TE Charles dropping, TE Allen goes 2nd, and he may not go until the 40’s in this draft.
Yes, there will be a TE run, because teams see what New England and others are doing with this position to create mismatches. That run won’t come until the 3rd day of the draft, but it will come, even with the lack of available talent to choose from.
Offensive Line: What happens after Kahil goes as it relates to the 1st round, and what are the current impressions of OL as a whole?
Reiff and DeCastro are next, and should be gone by pick #18. As a side note, DeCastro is going to make ANY team better. He reminds me an awful lot of OG Hutchinson. Versatile OT-OG Glenn fits in the 1st round just because he plays multiple positions. OG Zeitler and OT Martin are being strongly considered for the 1st round, but in THIS draft, they go solely based on what happens at the key positions of DE and DT. OC Konz is in the discussion between picks 29-35. There should be a mini run of OT’s because the talent level thins out and becomes project based after that. The OG run is coming later (3rd-5th round).
Defensive End: When will the run be for ends, and can you get a good one in the 3rd round or later?
The DE run is always in the 1st round! DE’s with pass rush skill are coveted and will go quickly. Versatile DE’s who could also line up either as a DT or an OLB are just as coveted. This is not only the TOUGHEST position to get a quality player in the 3rd round or later, it is also a position that tends to thin out before the end of the 2nd round.
Defensive Tackle: Are there enough Nose Tackles in this draft, and how does this position compare to defensive end?
There were thin nose tackle crops in the past couple of drafts but this one has a chance. Not all the nose tackles are best suited for a 3-4 defense, but at least there is some versatility. The overall run stopping ability in this DT crop is above average. The only issue with this potentially talented group is that many underachieved in college. Poe was a combine hero but had minimal stats in a non-BCS conference. Brockers has played one year. Still took plays off, and some say he took full quarters off! Worthy took plays off partly because of poor conditioning. Ta’amu never caught fire.
With the proper coaching, this group could turn out special.
Linebacker: Who is the 4th Linebacker chosen after Kuechly, Upshaw and Hightower, and what might be the best approach to take for GM’s if they can’t get the top 3?
I’m calling Shea McClellin (Boise) a DE even though he may be a LB for many teams. Traditional LB’s who play JUST ILB or OLB typically fall in the draft so expect the next LB to come off the board after pick #40. Zach Brown or Lavonte David are the favorites to be called after the top 3.
GM’s can clearly benefit from taking Brown or David, but after that the best approach is to wait until the 3rd day unless LB is the top need area left on a GM’s board. I show plenty of situational LB’s who can start in the NFL that will be available on the 3rd day.
Cornerback: How good are cornerback’s Kirkpatrick and Gilmore, and what happens after they are chosen?
There is a difference in these CB’s and the next group. The difference is simple: There is FAR LESS of a bust shot with Kirkpatrick and Gilmore. If either of these CB’s make it past the Lions at #23 then someone made a mistake.
There will be a major run at CB on day #2 of the draft simply because this position is so critical in today’s pass-happy NFL. Not every team understands how critical, but let’s just say if you want to compete for a Super Bowl you have to show a strong pass D%. You can get a good CB and even a future All-Pro later in the draft, but again, the bust factor is higher. CB’s will be selected in mass throughout the draft.
Safety: When will the 3rd safety come off the draft board?
About a year from now (just kidding). Not until the 3rd round, and probably mid-to-late 3rd round at that.