Day 2 (Rounds 2 and 3) of the 2016 NFL Draft got off with a bang quickly with numerous trades and surprises. Let’s recap.
1. The term “Money Ball” will be used synonymously with the Cleveland Browns’ new front office philosophy as numbers, more accurately statistical production, clearly is a key component in their talent evaluation. At the top of the 2nd round the Browns selected DE Emmanuel Ogbah of Oklahoma State, a scouting combine darling that finished 2nd in the FBS in sacks (13.0). Cleveland doubled down on pass rushers by selecting DE Carl Nassib of Penn St. with the first of three third round picks. Nassib led the entire FBS in sacks (15.5). Cleveland used their subsequent third round selections on OT Shon Coleman of Auburn, a raw talent with lot’s of upside and perhaps the eventual replacement to free agent departure RT Mitchell Schwartz and QB Cody Kessler of USC to add to the Josh McCown, RGIII mix. Kessler is thought to be limited physically from a size/arm strength perspective but had a ton of production in a pro-style offense at Southern Cal. If you include the Browns’ first round selection, Corey Coleman, there is an obvious pattern of positive tape and high statistical production among their selections.
2. The Tennessee Titans turned three 2nd round selections into: DE Kevin Dodd (Clemson), DT/NT Austin Johnson (Penn St.), and RB Derrick Henry (Alabama). I’m sensing a theme particularly when factoring 1st round pick Jack Conklin in the mix. General Manager Jon Robinson wants to build a big, physical team on both sides of the ball. Depending on who you ask that’s four players with 1st round grades. The Titans’ roster noted for it’s dearth of talent last season has received a serious shot in the arm.
3. Splash! Jerry Jones continues to grab headlines (perhaps for all the wrong reasons) by selecting LB Jaylon Smith (34) of Notre Dame. Smith’s knee, drop-foot concerns are well documented and he is almost certain to miss the entire 2016 season. A Top 5-10 talent pre-injury, who knows if he’ll ever regain his dominant form. The Dallas team doctor did perform Smith’s surgery so maybe he knows something… I would have preferred DT Sheldon Day or NT Andrew Billings in the third round, but, DT Maliek Collins of Nebraska has the potential to be a more complete player than both Day and Billings if defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli can tap into his potential. Call me a pessimist but unless Dallas nails Day 3, I’m thinking it won’t be until 2017-2018 before Dallas gets off the field on 3rd down.
4. I can’t help but to think Jalen Ramsey and LB Myles Jack should be Dallas Cowboys. Shrewd move by the Jacksonville Jaguars to trade up in the second round and grab Jack. Ramsey and Jack (pre-injury) were the Top 2 prospects on many a board in this entire draft class. Again, injury and long-term health concerns crushed Jack’s draft stock but the Jaguars defense is really starting to take shape. With the likes of Telvin Smith, Jonathan Cyprien and Dante Fowler, free agent acquisitions Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, and Prince Amukamara and draft picks of Ramsey and Jack they are going to be a very young, fast, and physical bunch. Seattle East?
5. While the Laremy Tunsil conversation continues to dominate headlines the Dolphins have done a decent job on Day2. Second round selection CB Xavien Howard of Baylor is a polarizing prospect due to his feast or famine style of play. If he can temper that aggressiveness his size (6’0 211) and ball skills could play well in a Cover 3 scheme. Third round selections RB Kenyan Drake of Alabama and WR Leonte Caroo of Rutgers are quality football players and furthers my suspicion that the Dolphins are simply staying true to their draft board. Drake is a nice complement to Jay Ajayi and offers a lot from a special teams perspective although I would have preferred RB Devontae Booker. Caroo was simply too good to pass up despite a fairly deep receiving corps including: Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills.
6. I love the fact that the signing of DE Robert Ayers did not discourage the Bucs from drafting Noah Spence in the second round. Tampa Bay desperately needs a consistent pass rush outside of DT Gerald McCoy. He may be the most gifted pass rusher in the class and despite being a bit undersized he won’t be asked to learn a new position as a 3-4 OLB. Instead, he will play his customary 4-3 end position and be tasked with doing what he does best. Ayers, Spence and Jacquies Smith could form a decent edge rush rotation. Kicker Roberto Aguayo of FSU is a stud. Would I have preferred that he was selected in the 3rd round? Yes. However, I don’t mind taking someone as automatic as he is in the 2nd round. What I do mind is that the Bucs gave up a 3rd and 4th round selection to select him in the second… steep price for a kicker if you ask me. I praised the Bucs for trading down and still landing the cornerback they coveted Vernon Hargreaves in the 1st round. I have to admonish them for the costly move to select a kicker.
7. General Manager Jerry Reese redeemed himself in Round 2 by pairing WR Sterling Shepard of Oklahoma with Odell Beckham Jr. Everyone has Ezekiel Elliot penciled in as the Offensive Rookie of the Year but Shepard opposite OBJ will eat. Third round selection S Darian Thompson of Boise St. isn’t the best “last line of defense” but his 19 career INTs in college suggest ball-hawk and complements fellow safety Landon Collins‘ “in-the-box” strength.
8. The Buffalo Bills… I mean Rex Ryan continues to stack the Front 7 with “his” guys. In Round 2, LB Reggie Ragland fits Ryan’s scheme like a glove and in the third DT Aldolphus Washington flashes the ability to be completely un-blockable from an inside rush perspective. More Meatloaf.
9. Far be it for me to question GM Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens scouting department but they have to put more talent around Joe Flacco, he isn’t the type to really raise the play of those around him. That being said it’s hard to argue with taking OLB/DE Kamalei Correa of Boise St. and his pass rush prowess in the second round. There have been a lot of quality free agent departures out of Baltimore and Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil aren’t getting any younger.
10. Like I said before, I’m not questioning the Oakland Raiders’ draft selections anymore until proven otherwise. Second and third round selections DE Jihad Ward of Illinois and DE/LB Shilique Calhoun of Michigan St. are good defensive players out of the Big Ten, with tons of upside and should contribute immediately.
11. Detroit apparently gets it now. In the second and third rounds they select DT A’Shawn Robinson of Alabama and C Graham Glaslow of Michigan respectively. This on the heels of OT Taylor Decker in the first round. You can’t be successful if you don’t control the line of scrimmage.
12. The Saints doubled up on that deep class of Ohio St. prospects with WR Michael Thomas and S Vonn Bell in the 2nd and 3rd rounds respectively. Vonn Bell, offers excellent coverage skills as a safety but I question his willingness to stick his nose in there and make open field tackles. I don’t know what to make of Michael Thomas but as long as he’s where he’s supposed to be Drew Brees will find him. The Saints clearly opting for “Big Program” talent to address a lack of talent on both sides of the ball.
13. I like OT Jason Spriggs of Indiana especially considering the value he presents in the 2nd round. He has the athleticism to be an effective left-tackle and nothing is more important than protecting Aaron Rodgers. Considering how poorly the Packers offensive line played last season and the fact that 80% of the starting offensive line is in the final year of their deals Spriggs isn’t enough. Green Bay needs to address the O-line on Day 3 as well. In fact, I thought that Green Bay should have went offensive line again in Round 3 but instead they selected LB Kyler Fackrell of Utah St. Fackrell is a three down talent but I imagine he will play on the edge. I would think more highly of this selection if it allowed Clay Matthews to move back to the outside.
14. The Seattle Seahawks had four picks on Day 2. In the second round they added run-stopping aficionado DT Jarran Reed of Alabama to replace Brandon Mebane and pave the way for Bobby Wagner. Third round selections of RB C.J. Prosise of Notre Dame and TE Nick Vannett of Ohio St. are big school talents that offer matchup challenges for opposing defenses and OG Reed Odihambo is expected to get the “Tom Cable” treatment and develop into a starting interior offensive lineman. That being said, there were at least three running backs I would have taken before Prosise. Meanwhile, Vannett doesn’t offer enough as a run-blocker in my opinion to warrant his selection in the third round over a better offensive line prospect than Reed Odihambo considering Jimmy Graham is already on your roster. It matters not though as Day 3 is where Seattle makes their killing.
15. The Texans continue to surround Brock Osweiler with offensive talent by selecting a pivot man in Nick Martin (brother of Zach Martin) of Notre Dame in the second round and WR Braxton Miller of Ohio St. in the third round. Martin should start day one and Miller presents an interesting chess piece as Houston attempts to become more dynamic offensively. I wonder where the selections of Will Fuller and Braxton Miller leave Jaelen Strong?
16. Christian Hackenberg? Once a quarterback starts “seeing” the rush there’s no coming back and you don’t improve in terms of accuracy from college to the pros. The Jets reached for him even in Round 2.
17. I like what the Falcons did on Day 2. In the second round they selected LB Deion Jones of LSU who should be a play-making blur at linebacker for the Falcons. And in the third they selected one of the better tight end prospects in TE Austin Hooper of Stanford. Hooper could be a god send for Matt Ryan.
18. I’m disgusted and impressed. The Washington Redskins grab LB/S Su’a Cravens and CB Kendall Fuller in rounds 2 and 3 respectively. Neither player offers prototypical physical traits but they are incredibly instinctive and productive players..
19. Mike Zimmer knows defensive backs and he got the best corner in this draft in Mackensie Alexander in the second round.
20. The Bengals missed out on a receiver in the 1st round only to get an upgrade at the position in round 2 in the form of Tyler Boyd of Pittsburgh. He is as polished as they come and should start opposite A.J. Green day one.
21. The Bears are WINNING! Second round selection OG Cody Whitehair is arguably the best offensive guard prospect in the 2016 class and third round selection DE/DT Jonathan Bullard is yet another talented chess piece to add to Vic Fangio’s front seven.
22. The Colts have done a 180 philosophically after falling flat in 2015. In the second round they add the incredibly athletically gifted DB T.J. Green of Clemson to their secondary mix. In the third round they add Le’Raven Clark of Texas Tech (to 1st round selection Ryan Kelly) in a concerted effort to keep franchise quarterback Andrew Luck clean in 2016.
23. Locked and loaded on offense the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to add talent to a young and talented defensive core. Cornerback Sean Davis of Maryland in the 2nd may end up at safety, he’s a complete player; and DT Javon Hargrave of South Carolina St. will be thrust into immediate duty with his explosiveness and pass rush ability from the interior. There’s a theme here… effect the quarterback.
24. The New England Patriots had four selections on Day 2 (1 in Rd. 2; 3 in Rd. 3). The picks of note were CB Cyrus Jones of Alabama in the second and QB Jacoby Brissett of North Carolina St. in the third. I’m really high on Brissett I imagine he will fetch a substantial hall when the Patriots decide to trade him since Tom Brady plans on playing until he’s 50. As for Cyrus Jones, I think he is limited to the slot but in today’s game that makes him a starter.