By: Will Stevenson
The NFL DRAFT is upon us! Since the college football season ended, fans around the globe have been waiting of the Mock Drafts, pro-days, pundits and combine workouts. It has always been a mystery to me how draft prospects rise and fall after actual football has ended. It’s amazing to see a player like Jabril Peppers, a do it all player for Michigan, be as high as a top 10 during the college football season and then be rumored to drop to the bottom of the first round, and even to the second round. Most of these rumored predictions are all lies. General Managers and think-tanks are attempting to scare off potential suitors for the players they want to choose. Most if not all teams do not want to have to trade up in the draft just to get a player they thought would fall into their hands. For incoming draftees, the draft process can be a disservice to their actual talents. Although there are roughly 43 game-day spots, then to 53 an the practice squad, there doesn’t seem to be enough room for incoming players. With the special teams taking a hit due to personal safety, the numbers tend to dwindle for fringe players. Likewise, the passing offenses have allowed more receivers, tight ends, h-backs, nickel/dime cornerbacks, and hybrid safeties to earn more spots on given teams. Although the star running back has been cut down, running back by committee helps more players fill the running back position.
The college playbook and the NFL playbook are different. College offenses are geared to keep coaches employed, recruits coming in, and more money for big bowls. A college team may have the number 1 recruit at quarterback, but their team isn’t looking to get him to the NFL like Kentucky would in college basketball. More teams run the shotgun offense in college, while NFL teams still prefer quarterbacks to run offenses under center. So a guy who runs a shotgun or pistol specific offense runs the risk of being rated lower when it comes to being a pro prospect.
The wear and tear of playing a possible three years in college also lowers incoming prospects. How many Alabama and SEC running backs have we seen fall by the wayside in the NFL over the past few years? The playbooks may be different between college and the pros, but the hits are still the same. Injuries limit so many players as they attempt to stay on the field to improve their draft stock. Hamstrings always seem pop up during the combine and pro-days. Players must also evaluate if they will have that off-season surgery or hold off until they are drafted.
With the rookie scale in effect, NFL teams don’t have to worry about Sam Bradford or Jemarcus Russell weighing down their cap. The Jaguars can draft Blake Bortles and cut or trade him years after he’s shown no promise with little financial distress. Teams are also collectively willing to allow players to fall in later rounds, knowing they will drop. The days of Jacoby Ford going high in the first round are over. That 4th rated running back isn’t a first round pick, he’s now a 2nd or 3rd round pick at best.
So will we see another draft gaffe this year? Will a high profied player fall? Will another team trade up for the first pick? Who knows. Let’s take a look at the players and coaches joining this year’s 2017 draft.
|1)||Jamal Adams||S||Louisiana State||12)||Marshon Lattimore||CB||Ohio State|
|2)||Jonathan Allen||DT||Alabama||13)||Malik McDowell||DT||Michigan State|
|3)||Chidobe Awuzie||CB||Colorado||14)||Takkarist McKinley||LB||UCLA|
|4)||Derek Barnett||DE||Tennessee||15)||Ryan Ramczyk||T||Wisconsin|
|5)||Garett Bolles||T||Utah||16)||Haason Reddick||LB||Temple|
|6)||Gareon Conley||CB||Ohio State||17)||Cam Robinson||T||Alabama|
|7)||Corey Davis||WR||Western Michigan||18)||John Ross||WR||Washington|
|8)||Leonard Fournette||RB||Louisiana State||19)||Solomon Thomas||DE||Stanford|
|9)||Adoree’ Jackson||CB||Southern California||20)||Mitchell Trubisky||QB||North Carolina|
|10)||Kevin King||CB||Washington||21)||Deshaun Watson||QB||Clemson|
|11)||DeShone Kizer||QB||Notre Dame||22)||Tre’Davious White||CB||Louisiana State|
The college head coaches confirmed to attend this year’s NFL Draft:
|1)||Larry Fedora||North Carolina||8)||Chris Petersen||Washington|
|2)||P.J. Fleck||Minnesota||9)||Matt Rhule||Baylor|
|3)||Butch Jones||Tennessee||10)||Nick Saban||Alabama|
|4)||Brian Kelly||Notre Dame||11)||David Shaw||Stanford|
|5)||Urban Meyer||Ohio State||12)||Dabo Swinney||Clemson|
|6)||Jim Mora||UCLA||13)||Kyle Whittingham||Utah|
|7)||Ed Orgeron||Louisiana State|