This Week’s Obsession: The NFL Draft Roundtable Comment Count

Seth April 26th, 2018 at 1:28 PM

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they street clothes up so fast [Bryan Fuller]

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The Question:

Ace: You guys!

Seth: oh man.

“Scrambly and herping body control as a pass protection”

Ace: That killed me.

Seth: We should…

Ace: Yeah.

THE NFL DRAFT ROUNDTABLE!

1. Where do you think the Michigan guys (Hurst, Cole, McCray) will go? Best fit? Anyone else you think might catch on an NFL roster?

Ace: Mo Hurst should absolutely go in the first round now that his health is no longer a concern. One big shift in both college and the NFL recently is how much you need pass-rushing out of your defensive tackles; quarterbacks get the ball out so fast these days that having that much less ground to cover to generate pressure really makes a difference. Hurst may be the best pass-rushing DT in the draft and he’s no slouch against the run; the only thing that may keep him from going in the top half of the first round is he’s a touch undersized. I expect teams to regret passing on him for that reason.

Brian: NFL is such a passing league that Hurst should be the first DT off the board, but probably won't be.

Ace: Yeah, I’m surprised that Vita Vea—a 340-pound nose—is getting mocked higher in most places. I mean, I’m a homer, but I don’t think you really need those so much these days.

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If you’d rather have Mone we’ve got one but we think you’ll like Mo. [Fuller]

Brian: And since people are apparently going to take all the meh quarterbacks, I'll say he goes 14th to Walla Walla.

Seth: The "he'll be a third rounder because of his heart" story is debunked but still getting passed around, and I don't trust NFL execs to be smart enough to see past it. Which means he'll go to a smarter team but also might end up a very value pick in the late 1st.

Ace: I’m holding out sick hope the Lions take him and reel me back in. They could really use him, too.

Seth: What about Mason Cole? There's a lot of tape of him at left tackle, where he won't play, but not great tape of him at center.

Ace: I’m guessing Cole is going to go on the last day, somewhere in the 4-6 round range. He’s limited to center and didn’t really blow away the combine.

Also, NFL DTs are stronk.

Brian: And he has not displayed any stretch ability, which should be his calling card.

Ace: NFL teams will take on serious OL projects. Problem with Cole is there’s an obvious ceiling and I’m not sure it’s much higher than backup center.

Brian: I think teams are going to see his film at C against McDowell and Colorado's Josh Tupou and knock him down their boards.

Ace: Same here.

[After THE JUMP: we are hard on the Lions, harder on the Browns, hardest on the NFL]

BiSB: His lack of a position will keep him out of the first few rounds, but will get him drafted. If you've got a 6th (or 7th lineman) who can play four or five positions in a pinch, that's valuable.

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Michigan’s only viable scholarship lineman of the Hoke era is not a first day pick.

Ace: Cole would die at tackle in the NFL.

BiSB: Agreed. But he could play it in a pinch.

Seth: Go back to Chris Fox's injury and its ripple effect; if Michigan could have redshirted Cole as a freshman he'd have a year under Herbert instead of Tolbert. It's easy to overrate S&C coach effects but everyone has said there's a stark difference between their approaches. Tolbert wants you to be the last guy standing in the 4th quarter; Herbert wants you make sure that's true because you pulverized everyone else. Cole is one guy who definitely would have benefited from a year of pure strength.

BiSB: We're bringing up the Hoke Era again. WHY MUST WE DO THAT?

Ace: I never thought I’d say this, but… can we stick to the NFL projections?

Seth: At least I didn't draw GERG into it half a dozen times. What about Mike McCray? Underrated athlete.

Ace: Oddly enough, combine bore that out. I think he has a chance of going higher than Cole. The NFL won’t ask him to do as much wheel-route-chasin’.

Brian: I don't care what his combine numbers are, I don't want him in a passing spread league.

Ace: Oh, I’m not saying I’d necessarily pick him, but somebody is going to.

Brian: And I feel like they will absolutely run piles of wheel routes at him.

Ace: McCray showed more athletic potential than I expected at the combine. Some team is going to see that, his size, and his thumping run defense and decide they can really turn that into something. Plus, he’d be a solid special teams guy.

Brian: Useful run stuffer who will carve out a career as a specialist and will probably go late.

BiSB: There's still enough non-passing-spread teams in the NFL that he'll have a spot

Ace: Yeah, two-down LB type with a special teams impact.

Seth: Some NFL teams run a lot of those, and all the West Coast ones still run their RBs to the flats constantly. There be Dalvin Cooks all over the place there. I think a one-high defense can make him an MLB.

Ace: Please tell me we didn’t just curse him to Cleveland.

BiSB: He can line up 30 yards off the ball, yes? Or at corner?

Ace: Makes about as much sense as doing it with Jabrill Peppers.

Seth: If Cleveland drafts Minkah Fitzpatrick and moves Peppers to nickel that's a good defense. Which is why it won't happen.

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2. The First Five Big Ten Players Drafted?

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we agree. [Patrick Barron]

Ace: Saquon Barkley obviously goes off the board first, though it’ll be very interesting to see just how high because of the market value of RBs.

Seth: I'm of the belief he's worth a top five pick. Barry Sanders-level guy.

Brian: Denzel Ward, I guess. Getting hamblasted by Simmie Cobbs still sticks out in my mind.

Ace: Then I’d go Hurst, Denzel Ward, DJ Moore, and James Daniels.

BiSB: Barkley, Denzel Ward, Billy Price, Mo Hurst, DJ Moore

Seth: I think Ace's list is smart and I don't think NFL execs will follow it. There are no great cornerbacks available so Denzel Ward is going way higher than he ought to.

Ace: Moore absolutely killed the pre-draft process and is in the conversation for first receiver off the board. I really like him. Easy comparison to Stefon Diggs is easy but still appropriate.

Brian: Speaking as someone who has all but ignored draft takes: one of the top five Big Ten players is Iowa's center?

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Wait’ll you see Moore when he's got a reason to give a shit too. [Barron]

Ace: Daniels is rock-solid. Josh Jackson is also very much in the conversation. Maybe Billy Price.

Seth: Iowa's offensive line was weirdly awful despite so many good players. I wonder if Daniels is an NFL guard.

Ace: Probably a C-only but he could be a really good one. Another guy who had a great combine.

Brian: Wait what about Troy Fumagalli?

Ace: Mid-rounder. Well behind Mike Gesicki, since NFL teams will just use him as a slot. Given Gesicki’s absurd jump-ball ability I don’t exactly disagree with that if teams know how to use him.

Ace: Sam Hubbard should also get a mention here. I could see him rising up because of his serious still-untapped potential and athleticism.

BiSB: Gesicki'll go to a team without a lot of specific needs, and he'll be used like Skinniest Gronk.

Seth: Is Tegray Scales worth a pick? Great college player.

Ace: Scales should get picked.

Seth: Gesicki to the Lions because the Lions hate me.

Ace: He’ll be skinnier Jimmy Graham.

…I’d be okay with Gesicki to the Lions, to be honest.

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3. For the Locals: What Should the Lions Do? What Do They Actually Do? Why Do They Always Do That?

BiSB:

Ace: They could go running back, which actually wouldn’t be the worst idea given where they’re drafting. I wouldn’t mind Derrius Guice or Ronald Jones II.

Seth: What about trading next year's 1st rounder to move into Barkley range if he's slipping past the top group?

Ace: No, do not trade up for a running back.

Brian: I am the "I don't even own a TV" guy about the Lions

BiSB: The Lions need some pass rush. From somewhere. ANYWHERE.

Ace: Yes, if they don’t go RB, I’d like for them to go D-line.

Brian: is Boss Bailey still on the team, he had a cool name

Ace: They need to line up Ziggy Ansah’s replacement and he’s the only guy who can get to the QB already.

Seth: Mo Hurst is what they need, but I hate wishing a Lions career on one of my favorite all-time Michigan players.

BiSB: Yeah, some interior pass rushing ability would be nice, especially with Ngata being gone.

Brian: remember when they took Terry Fair over Randy Moss

Ace: why

None of us need reminding that the lions are the absolute worst.

Brian: remember when their best two players in our lifetimes walked away from millions and millions of dollars just so they could stop playing for the lions

Seth: Oh gawd, they go into these dumbass "character" phases every few cycles and they're in one now. And what they define as "character" is as dumb as you can imagine.

Ace: NEXT TOPIC PLEASE

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4. Speaking of Dumb, the QB Conversation this Year...

Brian: Underrated insane QB thing that's getting overlooked because of Josh Allen: Sam Darnold, clear top ten pick. Whyyyyy.

BiSB:

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Ace: I think we need to start with this.

A more advanced system by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly found that a QB’s ceiling in the pros is lower than his college stats, with dozens of previous examples. Well, based on that, Allen’s ceiling is the tall, strong Ryan Mallett. Not Allen’s projection. Allen’s ceiling.

There’s literally no reasonable reason to expect Josh Allen will be even a semi-viable NFL quarterback except he’s big, a little mobile, and has a Mallett-like cannon.

He might go #1 overall.

Seth: The Browns are really mad the Jets usurped their dumbest franchise quarterback pick in recent memory title with Hackenberg.

BiSB: Of all of the positions where you would THINK that NFL GMs would value game tape and production over measurables, it'd be quarterback

Ace: This would be worse than Hackenberg somehow. At least the Jets waited until the second round.

Seth: OH YEAH? WATCH US TAKE HACK FIRST OVERALL BICHES

BiSB: Allen is JaMarcus Russell.

Ace: And Russell had a way better resume.

Brian: Sam Darnold's entire career was watching absurd persons turn two yard passes into 20 yard gains, and he had 24 "TO-worthy" throws last year, almost half of which he got lucky on. Do not want.

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NFL scouts are split on whether Darnold deserved to throw more interceptions or if he was merely trying to avoid getting drafted by the Browns.

Ace: See, Darnold is more legitimately divisive. He makes a lot of incredible throws and a lot of his picks were trying to make NFL throws (as opposed to Allen, who was just bad).

BiSB: It's a good point, but my bigger issue with Darnold is his propensity to make the big mistake. He made some mind-bendingly bad decisions at times.

Ace: I’d still be very wary of using a top-five pick on him.

Brian: Twitter is now saying they'll take Baker Mayfield, because when has a dynamic, mobile Big 12 quarterback who occasionally gets tackled by cops ever gone wrong for the Browns?

Ace: I would take Baker Mayfield.

Brian: I would too but I had my zinger

Ace: His stats are absolutely incredible, he throws the deep ball so well, he’s a modern spread QB with an NFL arm…

Brian: I would take Baker Mayfield's corpse over Josh Allen

Alex: Allen is Mountain West Tanner Lee. Just wanted to hop in to throw that out there.

BiSB: The paradox is that Baker Mayfield is worth a very high pick, but the very high picks are teams that are most likely to break him.

Ace: Lee might go way late, by the way, and he could very well be as good as Allen. This is the NFL paradox, always.

BiSB: /Narrator: "That wasn't very good"

Alex: Depends on which teams draft them, yeah.

Ace: We haven’t even mentioned all the thinly veiled racism thrown Lamar Jackson’s way yet. I’m not sure Jackson is the best QB in this draft, but I’d damn sure take him a thousand times before Allen, and some NFL front office types don’t even think he can play the position.

BiSB: We're inches from the "Josh Allen finds a completion / Lamar Jackson loots a secondary" point

Brian: Looooove the "This guy who plays for BOBBY PETRINO can't make reads" take.

Ace: Seriously, so many NFL guys showing their asses with those takes. Also: mentioning his incredible athleticism as a negative is… something. And that’s definitely happened. He pretty much doesn’t have a ceiling.

Also along these lines: Josh Rosen being panned for speaking his mind. Can’t have a quarterback who thinks for himself.

BiSB: "He wants to know why" is my favorite criticism of all time.

Jim Mora says ‘millennial’ Josh Rosen ‘needs to be challenged intellectually’

A likely top pick in the NFL draft, Rosen “needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored,” according to his college coach. Which doesn't sound like a bad thing.

Ace: I’d take him over Darnold.

Brian: Yeah, I get that Rosen's college career isn't an NFL slam dunk but "this guy might read the Economist" as a black mark is trash dot emoji

Seth: They're also knocking him for two concussions, which is an issue. But yeah, if the stuff for Jacksons wasn't so overt I'd be taking some issue with how they think of guys named Rosen.

Ace: We can do both!

BiSB: Related note: people continue to voluntarily play football for Jim Mora Jr.

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5. The Barkley Question


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the photographers got these might as well use them [Barron]

Seth: Barry, the end.

Ace: It is not that simple. It’s really, really hard to build a good team around a high-paid running back.

BiSB: Barry rushed for 2600 yards at 7.6 YPC as a Senior

Ace: You’re using a lot of cap space on a position where you can win a Super Bowl with replacement-level players.

BiSB: Besides, the game has changed a LOT since the 90's

Ace: Bill Barnwell laid this out really well. If you’re looking at taking Barkley with a top-two pick, you’re paying him like he’s the best back in the league right away.

Seth: The thing about Barry Sanders is he went to a team that never built a Super Bowl contender and he still was one of the best things in the league for a decade.

Brian: Barkley is also going to catch 80 passes a year.

Ace: Meanwhile, if you can find a quarterback or an edge-rusher (like Bradley Chubb), you’re getting a massive bargain over an elite player at the position on his second contract. Barkley basically has to be Barry Sanders to be worth it.

Seth: I don't need Barkley in Foxboro in winter—that's entertaining enough. I need Barkley dodging tackles in the backfield and doing ridiculous things all fall for some franchise I couldn't care less about otherwise.

Ace: But you also need offensive linemen and a pass-rush and a secondary.

Brian: He's a 2-in-1 slot/RB who's virtually guaranteed to be elite, which you can't say about any QB in any draft. And especially not this one.

The Mathlete: But what is the value over average for an elite RB? It’s not high.

Ace: I think Barkley is awesome. I think he’s going to be really good. I wouldn’t build a team around any running back with a high pick.

BiSB: And the teams we're talking about have massive issues to address.

Ace: Exactly. The benefit you get from having Barkley is going to be largely lost on crap teams. He’s a luxury in today’s NFL. A really huge luxury, but still a luxury.

The Mathlete: Drafting Barkley high is a great example of the Auction Winner's Curse.

Seth: This is the problem with advanced metrics and all that. You have to be consistently smart over a period of time to benefit, and people who are capable of that find better work than the NFL. Saquon Barkley is a stupid-good football player and there are 10 to 15 teams who are still going to have massive issues in five years from now, and they could be unwatchable for those five years or on the cover of Madden.

BiSB: And unlike a QB where you get more benefit as they get some experience while you build around them, NFL running backs usually go the opposite direction faster

Alex: Saquon will be a bust. There's my hot take for the day.

Ace: No, this is why advanced metrics are helping teams make better long-term choices. I strongly suggest that Barnwell article.

By my count, looking at the past 20 drafts, the first running back drafted has turned into the best runner from that class only seven times. That’s similar to rates at other positions. The first quarterback taken in each draft over the past 20 years has turned into its best passer five times. With edge rushers, it’s six times in 20 years.

That’s Barnwell. There were a lot of no-doubt guys in there. I’d say Barkley is among the top guys to come out even among those prospects but it’s far from a lock.

The Mathlete: Only 4 Power 5 running backs had more carries for no gain or a loss against Power 5 competition last year

Ace: Remember Barkley behind that bad O-line against Michigan’s 2016 defense?

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tee hee, yup. [Eric Upchurch]

Brian: Well that's helping Seth's Barry Sanders take.

Ace: That’s him in the NFL on a bad team.

To be honest, the best thing that could happen to Barkley would be for the Giants to trade down to a team that’s ready to compete, or for him to drop down the board.

Alex: [checks the last time the Browns used a high pick on a running back]

BiSB: And, again, Barry was way more productive in college. WAY more productive.

Seth: I 100% concede that tying up franchise money in a running back is a bad move long term. I'm saying some front offices aren't going to be smart enough to make enough long-term choices to be competitive, and if you're one of those franchises stop pretending you've got Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson and sell some jerseys. This is a bad move that’s better than all the other bad moves you’re going to make.

BiSB: He'll sell some tickets though...

Brian: Moorhead's offense set up a lot of those TFLs, too. Remember the weirdly long mesh points against Northwestern?

Ace: Winning games sells tickets.

BiSB: Yeah, but that isn't on the Browns' list of options

Ace: Oh if the Browns use the #1 overall pick on a running back they’re idiots anyway. It’d be better than Josh Allen, though.

BiSB: They do have the #1 and #4 picks. I'M JUST SAYIN'...

The Mathlete: So Barkley 1, Allen 4 it is.

Seth: Either New York team could make this happen.

Ace: Ugh, I forgot they had the #4 pick, as well. Browns should try for Chubb and a non-Allen QB but they probably won’t.

BiSB: (They'll trade up from #4 to #3 to get Allen)

Seth: The Bears aren't going to a Super Bowl for awhile.

Ace: Anyway, I’d take Quenton Nelson, Roquan Smith, Derwin James, and Minkah Fitzpatrick before investing that high a pick in a running back. Those are guys at positions the NFL values who are in line for great, long careers.

Seth: I agree except stop being a smart person and think like an NFL GM with a top five pick.

Ace: Smith is basically Defense Barkley.

I also wanted an excuse to post this:

I want that dude.

Brian: Barkley is a defensible top five pick because he is a 230 pound Darren Sproles who enables a brazillion terrible matchups. I am not taking any guard in the world over him.

Seth: If I actually cared about the franchise I'm picking for I'm with Ace on this one.

Ace: Game done changed, Brian. Value of elite guards is approaching that of tackles for the same reason elite pass-rushing DTs are gaining in value.

Seth: Nelson is the best OG prospect since Hutchinson.

Ace: He’s un-freakin’-believable.

BiSB: He's a defensible top-5 player. Whether one of these teams should PICK him in that range is a different matter.

Brian: But you're dismissing Barkley as Another Good Running Back. He is not just that.

Ace: I’m not. He could be LeVeon Bell and it’s still going to be a problem when you have to build a team around him.

The Mathlete: I think the case isn't that he's AGRB, it's that the difference in AGRB vs average is not worth the cost

Ace: The Steelers are going to have a really tough call about whether to give Bell the huge contract he deserves that would almost certainly hamstring the team. This is the other thing: Barkley doesn’t have to re-sign with the team that drafts him. So you need to get that value right away. Especially if you’re, say, the Browns. And not exactly a free agent destination spot.

(slides into the Lions’ DMs)

…I’m available for a small fee.

Brian: that's equally true of anyone the Browns draft and argues in favor of the person who will have an immediate impact in a league where fortunes change pretty rapidly. I mean, the Browns are hopeless either way so it doesn't matter.

Ace: You can’t dig out of a hole by putting your team in a bad cap situation.

And paying your running back more than any other in the league when you have massive team-wide holes is a bad cap situation.

If the Patriots traded up to #1, they should absolutely take Barkley. There’s also a reason the Pats never do anything like that and win a whole bunch.

Seth:

You get this guy at like 10th, get a discount because of OG rates, and franchise him when his contract is up, and you've got yourself a decade of B gaps to throw any old running back into.

Ace: Nelson ain’t dropping to tenth. I’ll be surprised if he escapes the top five.

Seth: Browns have two of those picks and the Giants and Jets are two more.

Ace: The Browns should take him at 4. But they’re the Browns, so yeah, they’re gonna blow a ton of their cap on a backfield that never wins anything before they leave.

Seth: They'll take Josh Allen and Josh Allen again. Nobody ever failed to pan out if you use TWO top five picks on him!

7. Other than Gary, M's best prospect next year?

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That’s a dumb question [Marc-Grégor Campredon]

Ace: I actually thought this would be more interesting but looking at the depth chart, unless and probably even if there’s an unexpected early entry, the answer is most definitely Chase Winovich.

Seth: Unless it's Shea Patterson.

Ace: True. Hopefully a little down the line, LaVert Hill, Devin Bush, Zach Gentry, and Khaleke Hudson all have promising NFL futures.

Seth: The 2020 class might be ludicrous depending on early entries. DPJ, Black, all those tight ends.

/a Michigan Coach: Don't forget Michael Dwumfour!

The Mathlete: I think Higdon could be a second day pick next year

Ace: He’s got the right running style. I like his prospects, too.

Seth: Fortunately for us the NFL is gonna sneer at Devin Bush Jr. for being 5'10"--a senior year out of him seems almost unfair.

Ace: Kinnel is a dark horse draft guy because he’s a safety who can man cover. I don’t think a lot of us were calling Delano Hill as a draft pick until that happened. If Kinnel cleans up his sometimes wild tackling angles he could be another day two or day three guy.

Seth: He needs another level of speed to not be a late rounder because he's another smallish guy (Hill wasn't). The difference between elite speed and good speed in an NFL one-high defense is everything.

Ace: Yeah, I think he’ll go later than Hill. Onwenu and Ruiz are future NFL guys, too.

Brian: /has fallen asleep

Ace: Ruiz could be a first-rounder. Onwenu is more on a day two or three track right now but his potential is still vast. But that’s starting to get into the young guys where you could say just about anyone at least has a shot.

Seth: I wonder if someone signs Shane Morris. I mean, if you're going to spend your 1st and 4th pick overall on Josh Allen might as well get the same player in the 7th to be his backup.

6. Stray Thoughts

Ace: The NFL is dumb and you probably shouldn’t watch it.

Seth: Isaiah Oliver is a better cornerback prospect than Denzel Ward.

Ace: The Lions should also hire me. I might have some cognitive dissonance.

Brian: Spending 7.5 million dollars on a game changing RB when the cap is 187 million is fine.

Seth: Lions fandom can do strange things to people. Like this one guy I know wanted them to draft Mike Gesicki as Not a Receiver.

Ace: Read the Barnwell article, Brian.

Brian: Khalid Hill will be Mr Irrelevant

Seth: Do the Ravens have the last pick?

Ace: looooooooooooooooool

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Scouts Inc. (read: McShay) has him 73rd overall.

Seth: I was hoping he wouldn't get brought into this.

Ace: I mean, he’s definitely got upside. Just, uh, not a whole lot of production.

Seth: He should have lied about his age and gone right to the NFL a la Ziggy Ansah. Four years of Rutgers coaching is barely better for learning football than what you can get in Guinea.

slackbot: I think you mean Rutger

Seth: I wanted to get this in here somewhere: the Eagles just won a Super Bowl with the closest thing the league has seen to a modern college offense. I think that's the direction the NFL is going in a few years, and I think the playoff team that drafts Lamar Jackson and lets him marinate is going to be in a really good spot for 2021.

Ace: Very much agree. I love the way the Eagles built that team. Incidentally, they hit on a QB in the top five and therefore could spend dough at a lot of positions that weren’t RB. Thing Browns will not do: draft Lamar Jackson, Quenton Nelson, and profit. Sorry, Cleveland. (I’m not sorry.)

Seth: The other side of this is you should look for defenders who can play against the spread. Safetyish linebackers right now are all over the league but a freakish OLB who can sit back in your RPO passing lane then zoom past a blocker to your RPO running lane is going to be at a premium.

Ace: Roquaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.

Seth: Precisely. I hate Georgia so much but that guy.

Ace: Another guy the Browns should draft over Barkley. He’s so fun to watch, too.

Seth: And he's not even at his potential.

Comments

Yinka Double Dare

April 26th, 2018 at 1:54 PM ^

"Also along these lines: Josh Rosen being panned for speaking his mind. Can’t have a quarterback who thinks for himself."

Wanted: quarterback who is a leader, but also follows everyone else

 

Wolverine In Iowa 68

April 26th, 2018 at 2:00 PM ^

Lions....please don't shit the bed...please don't shit the bed...please don't shit the bed....

 

Damn...they shit the bed.  Looks like I won't be getting on the bandwagon again this season...

ak47

April 26th, 2018 at 2:09 PM ^

Brian having zero concept of how to build an nfl team and vastly overrating Barkley is an interesting take. Leanord Fournette had a great year, he still was less efficient than Alvin Kamara. Kareem Hunt was a 3rd round pick. There is a long list of stud college runing backs getting swallowed up and lost in shit offenses, that is Barkley if the Browns draft him. 

canzior

April 26th, 2018 at 4:09 PM ^

I wouldn't take a WR in the first round unless that was the weakest spot on the team and someone like Julio was available. 

Also in unpopular NFL opinions, I would've traded JJ Watt before last season. He's overpaid, and has played 3 games(?) in 2 years?  Could've gotten a 1 for him before last season. 

Would get rid of Gronk. Would've gotten good picks for him too and stick with the Patriots mantra of getting rid of guys a year too early instead of a year too late. 

 

 

bronxblue

April 26th, 2018 at 4:55 PM ^

I also think people super overrate Barkley as a back grinding out yards every down. Bill Connelly had an article a bit ago that showed he was fine but his marginal efficiency and explosive value doesn't portend all-world performance in the league. So in other words, he'd be a fine RB but you can get a Royce Freeman type much later who would be just as good.

I don't see Barkley being as good as Zeke Elliott in the pros, and that felt like a wasted pick.

ak47

April 26th, 2018 at 5:06 PM ^

Another fun stat on why running back early in the draft is a bad value.

Of running backs taken in the top 5 in the last 15 years they've averaged 151 carries for 596 yards in their 5th season. A good running backs shelf life these days is like 3 years as a person you can get the ball to 20 times a game. So you are either putting your top 5 pick in committee role to keep him healthy enough to be effective longer, or he's probably broken his body by the end of his rookie contract.  Just isn't a position you can draft a guy in the top 5.

bronxblue

April 26th, 2018 at 5:33 PM ^

Obviously you can get an AP, Gurley, or an Elliott (or maybe even a Fournette) who becomes a consistent performer, but you're always still grading on a curve with those guys.  AP had an amazing season a couple of years ago and the Vikings barely made the playoffs.  Gurley was great this year for the Rams, but they won because they had a great defense and Goff became one of the better QBs in the league after looking like hot garbage the year before. 

Honestly, what I'd care most about in a RB is a guy who can block effectively and catch the ball pretty well.  The ability to run in a straight line is fine and a nice bonus, but I'm not paying a premium for it.

Yinka Double Dare

April 26th, 2018 at 2:36 PM ^

Ultimate Browns would be taking Barkley at 4 after taking Allen at 1, thereby having a QB whose accuracy problems even on short stuff would severely blunt the usefulness of a back who is so good at catching passes out of the backfield. 

Magnus

April 26th, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

If I were the Browns, I would do my best to get Chubb and a not-Allen QB. I might also try to trade down and get Derrius Guice, if I can still get a QB after I trade down.

oriental andrew

April 26th, 2018 at 2:39 PM ^

I like Barkley because he has velocication.

Hurst definitely plays with a thwing and strong optimal power, as well as being completive and he the very seasons. 

And DJ Moore has that bowy long demeanor. 

But who in this draft is expected to expected to stay on touchdowns as meme inside coverage and lateral change of screams? 

 

(also, can anyone else picture these things being written on cutesy Japanese and Korean stationary?)

Kevin13

April 26th, 2018 at 3:01 PM ^

better then you are giving him credit for. I would take him over Baker. Baker plays on a team loaded with talent, usually much better talent then his opponents and it makes him look better then he really is. I would put him in the same category as Tebow. Fit his college scheme right and had talent around him to elevate him up, but not an NFL type QB. Probably end up in Cleveland and have the same type of career as Manzel.

Allan makes the players on his team better and goes against talent that is better then what he plays with. He has an NFL arm and reads defenses very well.  You guys probably thought Wentz would be a bust because he played at ND State.  It's not always the school or conference you play in that makes you an NFL ready player.

Magnus

April 26th, 2018 at 4:06 PM ^

When looking at QBs, I like to look at completion percentage for these college guys. Josh Allen's career completion percentage is 56.2, including 56.0 in 2016 and 56.3 in 2017.

I looked at college stats for every starting QB in the NFL. The closest comparisons for Allen in completion percentage are Jay Cutler and Tyrod Taylor, both of whom completed 57.2% of their passes in college. The vast majority of other starters are more than a smidge over 60%.

I'm not wasting a top-10 pick on the next Jay Cutler or even Tyrod Taylor, who can at least run a little bit. I'm staying the heck away from Allen unless I can get him late in the first round or early in the second, and even then, I'm weighing my other options.

bronxblue

April 26th, 2018 at 5:39 PM ^

I'd like to add that Jay Cutler was hurt by having to play as a freshman, where he completed less than 50% of his passes.  Once he got settled into the position, he he was basically a 60% passer in a pretty inefficient offense at Vandy.  Compare that to Allen, who didn't get remotely better and wasn't asked to play any real minutes until his 2nd year, and played in an offense that was much conducive to putting up decent passing numbers.

Allen is a project, and he has the potential to be a competent player.  But to me, completion percentage is like FT percentage; due to large sample size, it's a pretty clear sign of your "true" abilities shooting/passing.  

oriental andrew

April 26th, 2018 at 6:11 PM ^

How would you rank the QBs in this year's draft? I like USA Today's take at it:

https://ftw.usatoday.com/2018/04/2018-nfl-draft-quarterback-rankings-sc…

They put Rosen first, with the comment that they NFL drafts on best-case scenario rather than most likely outcome. Then Darnold and Jackson. They put Allen at a distant 6th as a late 2nd rounder. Seems to better align with what you're thinking. 

Magnus

April 27th, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

It largely depends on the system. I can see the top guys failing in some systems, and I can see some of the lower guys doing well in some systems. Before the draft began, I probably would have had them like this:

1. Mayfield
2. Rosen
3. Darnold
4. Jackson
5. Allen
6. Rudolph

I probably wouldn't take anyone other than those top four in the first round.

MGoStu

April 26th, 2018 at 4:08 PM ^

The difference is that Wentz excelled at ND State, same as Roethlisberger excelled at Miami and Carr excelled at Fresno State. Allen has not excelled at Wyoming. He's put up mediocre numbers. One of the best rated defenses in the country and the offense ranks in the 120s

B1G_Fan

April 26th, 2018 at 4:28 PM ^

Baker Mayfield had 400 and some attempts with a 70% completion percentage. If he was 6'5 we wouldn't even be talking about who the number 1 pick will be. Personally I think Baker is more like Drew Brees than Johnny Football ( who made a living out of chucking 50/50 balls in college). I'm not saying Baker will have a career like Drew but, he could be a great qb.

DoubleB

April 27th, 2018 at 4:13 AM ^

Robert Griffin III, Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater. These are all guys drafted recently that the stat guys loved and they are all essentially busts. Injuries

Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins had completion percentages closer to Josh Allen than Baker Mayfield.

Evaluating and projecting QBs is a lot harder than it looks and neither the stat guys nor the traditional measurements from NFL guys have done a great job at it.

FWIW, I think Josh Allen will be a bust in the league and I like Lamar Jackson to be the best of the bunch.

Magnus

April 27th, 2018 at 11:25 AM ^

Wentz and Cousins both completed 64.1% of their passes in college, and Mayfield was at 68.5%. That's a 4.4% difference.

Allen completed 56.2% of his passes, which is 7.9% away from Wentz and Cousins.

So...you're wrong.

Nobody's perfect at projecting, but Allen would be the QB with the lowest college completion percentage to be starting in the NFL in 2018 if he were to earn the starting gig. When you're literally the worst at something, that's a pretty frightful indicator.

schreibee

April 26th, 2018 at 4:49 PM ^

Kevin, you're ABSOLUTELY Turrible at this - are you FROM Cleveland, maybe work for the Browns even?
Mayfield is ACCURATE, Allen is NOT!
Do you KNOW Wentz's stats vs Allen's?
Not all small college careers are created equal...

bronxblue

April 26th, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

Allen wasn't all that good in college against the mediocre competition he faced, and to say he is even in the same category as Wentz as a college player is insane. Allen completed 10% less of his passes with more picks and fewer TDs. He was a worse runner as well.

Allen is a mediocre QB who got some preseason pub because he had a cannon for an arm and some people ignored his season. Which is fine; people are allowed to be wrong. But good luck drafting Allen and hoping he suddenly gets much better than his college production, something we've basically never seen.

AAB

April 26th, 2018 at 3:04 PM ^

Seth: I'm of the belief he's worth a top five pick. Barry Sanders-level guy.

The thing is, Barry Sanders himself shouldn't go in the top 5 in the modern NFL. The replacement value of a truly elite RB is just not that high these days, and the salaries the top guys get paid bears that out. I don't think I'd even take Marshall Faulk (who added a ton of value in the passing game) in the top 5.

LV Sports Bettor

April 26th, 2018 at 3:07 PM ^

Calvin Johnson and his nearly $20 million a year salary retiring early. No doubt Johnson was still decent but in a salary cap league overpaying a guy as much as they did with him is a HUGE albatross to try and overcome. Thankfully he left early as they'd still be paying him elite level salary for less than elite level production.

Plus don't think for a minute he left cause of the Lions. He left for the same reasons Sanders did, didn't need to keep playing risking injury, didn't care enough anymore, etc. Can't dog a guy for that but if he actually really wanted to come back the Lions would gladly love to deal him for a few assests. He's had numerous chances to comeback but like Sanders never he has once shown any interest in doing so. 

mgogobermouch

April 26th, 2018 at 3:17 PM ^

It's amusing to put Josh Allen's stats into Seth's QB comparisons from earlier this week. Where would Allen be on Michigan's depth chart?  3rd?  We're pretty down on Peters, but he still compares favorably to Allen, I think.

How anyone thinks Allen is a number 1 pick is totally beyond me.

jbrandimore

April 26th, 2018 at 3:19 PM ^

the guts to really put into words what his research is showing.

He does make the case that drafting RBs early is a potential waste of resources because they start their careers at the top of the NFL wage scale.

However, the other side of his own research also shows that it is an equally dumb move to pick up the 5th year option for the QB you draft, or to resign them after their rookie contract expires.

The same "lack of value" for drafting RBs would apply equally or even moreso to QBs once you have to pay them what the market will bear.

The author didn't have the guts to state what his research shows which is all NFL teams should draft a QB roughly every third year, and let their starters go in free agency and do not pick up the 5th year options on anyone.

umfanchris

April 26th, 2018 at 3:34 PM ^

So for a few reasons, I think McCray will be a decent Linebacker in the NFL

  1. Unlike Michigan's defense, NFL defenses aren't going to play solely agressive Man to Man defense 95% of the time. More often then not he is going to be in zone or if he is man to man he is going to have a safety or two over the top. Honestly I don't think very many true LB's could hang with Shaquan Barklay when they have to guard him Man to Man with no help. So a part of his issue was honestly Michigan's aggresive defense wasn't the best fit for him.
  2. NFL RB's don't go out for long routes that often. in the Super Bowl there was 1 RB route longer than 10 yards. Le'Veon Bell (2nd most targeted back in the NFL) from week 11 - 16 had two routes in that span that took him past 5 yards down the field. NFL RB's are usually responsible for staying back to block or at least chip first.
  3. Full wheel routes aren't near as effective in the NFL. The NFL has much closer together hash markers not allowing for as much space on the outside. Also like response 2, most backs are charged with at least chipping a pass rusher.
  4. McCray wasn't great, but I thought the latter half of his season (especially after PSU) he improved. In the Senior bowl PFF scored him as the highest graded Linebacker at the Senior Bowl including 2 pass breakups.

Now i'm not saying he is going to be a round 1 -  3 guy. But I think he has potential to work his way into a 5th round type guy. Possibly even being a starter down the road.

OwenGoBlue

April 26th, 2018 at 4:06 PM ^

He just doesn't offer the same kind of cap savings opportunity a top drafted QB, DL CB or tackle does. Nuanced difference but it's a difference.

I'm a Giants fan and really hope they trade down. If you're not taking a quarterback take advantage of someone who wants a QB, where teams have been proven to overpay in draft compensation. Gettleman might just take Saquon since he's the same guy who drafted Williams/Stewart and gave them monster deals at the same time while in Carolina.

Real Tackles Wear 77

April 26th, 2018 at 4:29 PM ^

Mo is a special talent and should be a top-20 pick (would have been if not for medical red flags). However, due to the concerns I've heard a number of teams took him off their draft boards entirely, which also means those that haven't feel there will be less urgency to pick him early. I can see him falling to the 4th or 5th round. Definitely hope to be wrong.

WindyCityWolverine

April 26th, 2018 at 6:03 PM ^

ca_prophet

April 27th, 2018 at 2:21 AM ^

is that they treat Barkley as though he's just another top college RB.  If you really think he's Barry Sanders or Marshall Faulk, then you take him and don't look back.  No pick will break the bank on their rookie deals - it's the next deal that kills you.  Nothing says that you have to sign him to the next deal if he's not all that.

Yes, an elite RB isn't that much more valuable than an average RB, but so what?  That only matters if you can pick up another elite QB or pass rusher with the pick instead, and your odds of finding one of those in this draft aren't that good.  If you think Barkley has better odds of being elite than one of the QBs/pass-rushers, he's still the right pick.  It's not like any of the QB's are Luck (and look what happened to him!) or the pass-rushers are Von Miller.

 

Kevin14

April 30th, 2018 at 3:05 PM ^

I know nobody here claims to be NFL experts, but it's funny how wrong the whole article turned out to be.  Hurst/Cole/McCray were all off in different ways.  

Interesting to hear your insight, but a full-on swing and miss.