The first NFL draft I can remember watching in its entirety was in 1991. My Los Angeles Rams had just come off their worst season in almost a decade and they had the 5th pick in the draft. The Dallas Cowboys were picking first, still collecting a bonanza from the trade of Herschel Walker, and they took a defensive tackle named Russell Maryland. The buzz in the room, and the anticipation at the podium, was intoxicating.
The Rams selected a cornerback – they needed a cornerback! – named Todd Lyght. Todd Lyght would go on to play for the Rams in Los Angeles and in St Louis for the next ten years, winning a Super Bowl with the team following the 1999 season. He was also named an all-pro that same year, and I watched the very moment he walked to the podium. I’ve watched every Ram walk to the podium since.
By and large the Rams haven’t been very good at this. The names have been luminary, and low. For every Jerome Bettis there was a Trung Candidate; for every Isaac Bruce there was a Lawrence Phillips. Many of the players the Rams selected — like Bettis, Sean Gilbert, Wayne Gandy, and Eddie Kennison – went on to find success on other teams.
But I watch nonetheless.
I watch every player in the first round step up to that podium. I imagine the possibilities, I critique the fit, and I celebrate the perceived winners and pan the perceived losers. The offseason, for me, is as exciting as the regular season in many ways, and the NFL draft is the Super Bowl of the offseason.
Tomorrow night is draft night, 2016. This will be the 25th consecutive 1st round that I have watched and my Los Angeles Rams, through hook and crook, have secured the 1st pick in the draft.
I’m pretty damn excited about that.
The Rams need a quarterback and there are two good ones available. All indications are that Carson Wentz, out of North Dakota, is going to the be the better one but the Rams are dead set on getting the other one, Jared Goff.
With the first pick in the draft the Rams will select the 2nd best QB.
I told you they weren’t very good at this.
But with that “hay in the barn,” as Rams General Manager Les Snead said recently, I’ll sit back, accept the pick, root for him like crazy, and enjoy the rest of the show. The future of the NFL will walk to the podium 31 times on Thursday night, and I can’t wait.
Incidentally, I do about a dozen mock drafts every year. Mock drafts are stupid. They’re speculative. They’re a waste of time. The finished result of all the hard work and preparation never amounts to a hill of beans. They’re dumb.
So here’s mine. 😉
Enjoy … and thanks for reading!
- Rams – Jared Goff (QB, Cal)
- I believe Carson Wentz will be the better player, but Goff is better right now. Rams play it safe.
- Eagles – Carson Wentz (QB, North Dakota State)
- Philly wins the sweepstakes; pays less, get the better prospect.
- Chargers – Laremy Tunsil (OT, Ole Miss)
- A lot of talk about trading back, or taking CB Jalen Ramsey, but Tunsil is the best player in the draft at a position San Diego seriously needs to upgrade.
- Cowboys – Jalen Ramsey (DB, Florida State)
- Ramsey can play corner or safety, and play either rather well. He’s been projected as high as the 1st pick in the draft, and that’s rare for a defensive back.
- Jaguars – Myles Jack (LB, UCLA)
- The Jaguars have to improve their front seven, so Bosa is also a good possibility here. But Jack is a difference maker and too good to pass up, even with the injury concern.
- Ravens – Joey Bosa (DE, Ohio State)
- The first order of business for the Ravens… rebuild the defense.
- 49ers – DeForest Buckner (DL, Oregon)
- San Francisco is still reeling from all the defections on their defense, and they’ll need to address that. Buckner is a talent that can rotate all along the line.
- Browns – Ezekiel Elliot (RB, Ohio State)
- I believe they will trade down again with Paxton Lynch as the target, but Elliot is probably the pick in this spot either way.
- Buccaneers – Vernon Hargreaves III (CB, Florida)
- This fit is almost too good to believe. Is there anybody not projecting VHIII to Tampa?
- Giants – Ronnie Stanley (OT, Notre Dame)
- Teams with Ereck Flowers from last year to provide a decade of protection.
- Bears – Shaq Lawson (DE, Clemson)
- They are really wishing Stanley had slipped one more spot, but since he didn’t the Bears will settle for an upgrade on the other side of the line.
- Saints – Sheldon Rankins (DT, Louisville)
- New Orleans needs help in the middle on both sides of the ball.
- Dolphins – Jack Conklin (OT, Michigan State)
- Conklin will project as a guard for Miami, where they are in sore need of bodies.
- Raiders – Leonard Floyd (OLB, Georgia)
- Oakland needs linebackers that can cover and rush the passer. Floyd can do both.
- Titans – Taylor Decker (OT, Ohio State)
- Tennessee traded out of the Tunsil sweepstakes, and traded too far down to score Stanley or Conklin. They must reach for Decker here and solve their tackle problem.
- Lions – Laquon Treadwell (WR, Ole Miss)
- Megatron must be replaced. Treadwell ran a slower than expected 40 and slipped right into Detroit’s hands. If any of the OT’s slip, though, they’ll take one of them.
- Falcons – Darron Lee (OLB, Ohio State)
- Atlanta will need offensive weapons in the coming rounds, but will take the 4.4 speed linebacker here to improve that defense.
- Colts – Ryan Kelly (C, Alabama)
- Fixing the o-line is priority one; Indianapolis must keep Andrew Luck upright.
- Bills – Robert Nkemdiche (DL, Ole Miss)
- Mario Williams was a disappointment on defense, and Rex Ryan is all about defense.
- Jets – Paxton Lynch (QB, Memphis)
- If the Browns don’t trade back and scoop this kid, the Jets will be overjoyed.
- Redskins – Reggie Ragland (ILB, Alabama)
- Or DT Jarran Reed. The middle of the defense must be improved.
- Texans – Corey Coleman (WR, Baylor)
- Houston needs help almost everywhere on offense. Coleman is a perfect fit.
- Vikings – Josh Doctson (WR, TCU)
- Will Fuller is also an option here, but another offensive weapon is needed.
- Bengals – A’Shawn Robinson (DT, Alabama)
- Missing out on the two WRs above turns into a boon; DT is a much bigger need in Cincinnati.
- Steelers – Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State)
- The secondary is atrocious. Apple is the perfect ingredient to fix that.
- Seahawks – Germain Ifedi (OT, Texas A&M)
- Jason Spriggs is another option here. Seattle must rebuild their offensive line.
- Packers – Jarran Reed (DT, Alabama)
- Although linebacker is a bigger concern, the talent here is too much to pass up.
- Chiefs – William Jackson (CB, Houston)
- He’ll team with Marcus Peters to solidify the corners.
- Cardinals – Mackensie Alexander (CB, Clemson)
- Arizona can take a wait-and-see approach and take the best corner or lineman available.
- Panthers – Jason Spriggs (OT, Indiana)
- The tackles were exposed in the Super Bowl. Spriggs falls into their lap.
- Broncos – Connor Cook (QB, Michigan State)
- Barring a trade up to get Lynch, Denver picks the 4th best QB in the draft. If Cook doesn’t pass the leadership test for Elway, then DE Dodd or Spence will go here.
- Rams – Jared Goff (QB, Cal)
Only 31 picks in the first round this year, because the Patriots forfeited their pick over the deflategate scandal. Air pressure matters.
Again, thanks for reading, and enjoy the draft!