Well, the time is here again, where we watch the NFL somehow succeed in spite of themselves, or the ability to evaluate, acquire and deploy talent, all while blaming college football for...doing a better job?
Just a guess — the Browns are going to draft Josh Allen first overall. If not, some other team will almost certainly take him later on in the first round, despite a ridiculously small amount of evidence that he’ll be a successful quarterback.
But just looking at the raw numbers; Allen completed just 56 percent of his passes at 6.7 yards per attempt, for a 127.79 rating. All three of those numbers were well below LSU’s Danny Etling in 2017. And Etling isn’t likely to get drafted at all.
Look, Allen may yet be successful. Nobody really knows how or why quarterbacks develop. But it feels like three-quarters of the love he gets is just residual love for Carson Wentz. Both are big, athletic passers from small schools in the upper midwest. And I thought the Eagles were stupid for trading up to the No. 2 pick to get Wentz two years ago, and clearly that’s proved to be worth it.
Personally, I’d go with Baker Mayfield. Yes, he’s a massive tool, and he doesn’t have an amazing arm. But the kid can play. And while I have my questions about Lamar Jackson’s footwork and accuracy (and correcting the former will probably help the latter), there’s absolutely no question that he’s a quarterback, and a damn good one that is well versed in pro-style reads and a playbook (he played for Bobby freakin’ Petrino). And the fact that he’s a legitimate plus as a runner can only help him work his way in.
Although I do have to admit, not using an agent in the draft process was a really bad idea.
Josh Rosen is probably the safest bet here. Lord knows he’s had practice carrying a bad franchise in UCLA.
Sam Darnold will make a throw that will legitimately wow you about every fifth pass attempt or so, but those other four are kind of all over the map. He’s got some Brett Favre in him, in that he’s tremendously talented physically, but may not be all there up top. If a coach can find a way to harness that free-wheeling play style, it’ll definitely pay off. But if you try and make him learn some 500-page Bill Walsh playbook you’ll be fired after year two.
The best player in this draft is almost definitely Quentin Nelson, who plays offensive guard like he’s trying to avenge his dead Pa.
Some of my other favorites that are likely getting picked Thursday night include (obviously) Derrius Guice, Bradley Chubb, Vita Vea and Minkah Fitzpatrick. And if a coach can get Da’Ron Payne to play full-speed consistently, he has some scary talent as well.
A few other randoms I’m a fan of:
- John Kelly ran way harder than the crappy 2017 Tennessee Vols deserved.
- Antonio Callaway is a headcase-and-a-half, but if he can stay out of trouble he’ll be an explosive wide receiver.
- Ronnie Harrison is strictly an in-the-box safety, but he’s a heck of an athlete. If Roman Harper can put together a 10-year career, so can he.
- Assuming he hasn’t ground all of his knee cartilage to powder, like most Bama players.
- Breeland Speaks is a weird tweener-type of player; small for a tackle, not quite built like a pro defensive end, but when he was on that kid was all over the field.
- Mike Gesicki would look really good in black and gold, if he lasts to the No. 27 pick.
Anyways, follow along with all the action here.