Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

compiled by Andrew Potter

For this special NFL draft edition of Audibles, as with our regular Audibles feature, the FO staff sends around e-mail comments about the draft. We share information, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed as we watch. We then compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these e-mails are written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of the draft. That means we aren't going to discuss every pick, or every talking point. We watch the draft as fans as well as analysts, so the discussion may be colored by our rooting interests and aspects of the draft may not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all.

2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Tom Gower: Greetings from the Auditorium Theater, where I have been freed from the media workroom I was in Thursday night last year. I have instead established camp in the upper balcony, with a view of the actual stage where selections will be made. The media area is continuing to fill in, NFL Network's and ESPN's tables are staffed with the draft night television stars, and people who pay attention to clothing are hanging out outside on the red carpet. There are now people in the crowd, with Jared Goff probably still an hour and a half away from being announced as the first overall pick.

Very preliminary indications are this might be a slightly more subdued event this year overall. That I'm here instead of in a workroom suggests there are fewer media covering the draft, even on Thursday night (and many people decamped after the first round last year, which is how I made it into the Theater proper on day two). The weather, which was nearly perfect last year, is not nearly so good this year. The rain in the forecast for today has held off, but it's chilly enough I could see my breath as I stood in line to get my credential. Tomorrow and Saturday are supposed to be similar, and the rain on Saturday could really put a damper on Draft Town compared to last year's apparent big success.

The Rams are on the clock, and of course they're taking their sweet time to formally make the selection. The crowd is naturally uneasy and unwilling to wait. We started with the ceremonial booing of Roger Goodell, had some ceremonial booing of Aaron Rodgers, and now we're just into procedural booing. I'm not sure if it's for the Rams for taking so long; the unnecessary wait for a pick we think we know; the Alex Flanagan and Michael Irvin Oscars red carpet-style show that's intended to entertain those of us in the theater during the wait for picks; or just for the couple Rams fans who stood up and cheered when Flanagan and Irvin asked if we had any Rams fans around.

Aaron Schatz: I like this tweet...

Vince Verhei: The NFL wants teams to drag these early picks out. Make this show as long as possible and keep those eyeballs glued to TVs.

Cian Fahey: So Charles Davis said Carson Wentz should have been the Rams' pick because of his legs. He repeated it for emphasis actually. So this draft process has been bizarre with both quarterbacks but Wentz in particular. Wentz's legs, and read-option plays, are being treated completely as a positive, whereas in the past those traits have normally led to questions about the player's ability to play from the pocket and his durability. Wentz hasn't got any of these questions despite playing FCS football in a simple scheme and getting injured during his final season in college.

Andrew Healy: As I see the Rams get Goff, I just feel like they are a contender as soon as next year. I obviously like the trade for Tennessee, but I like it for the Rams, too. Maybe even more for them. It seems so weird to think that Goff was pegged at No. 7 just a few weeks ago.

And I think the Rams needed to trade up, by the way. I think the Browns would have taken him at No. 2. I don't have any information on that. Just whatever QBASE was saying is something that they were going to be looking at, too.

Aaron Schatz: Rams definitely have an upgrade at quarterback, a strong defense, and a running back. But man, their receivers are awful. They need to get Goff more to work with over the next couple drafts.

Tom Gower: I thought for an FBS player who started 23 games, Carson Wentz was a really good quarterback while also being NFL Draft Industrial Complex Bait, showing just enough of what you want that you hand-wave away the other things. He won't have to play immediately in Philly, though of course that has very little to do with whether he actually will play early in Philly.

Joey Bosa to San Diego. I mean, it makes a lot more sense than an offensive tackle, but I thought Buckner made perfect sense for them.

Ben Muth: Piggybacking on what Cian said, I was blown away when the outdoor guys on NFL (Warner, Jeremiah) were saying Goff was safer because he played in the Pac-12 and was ready to start from Day 1. It's crazy that Goff, coming from an Air Raid offense that was never under center with very basic protection schemes that rely on throwing quick, is considered a no-doubt Day 1 starter. I feel like two years ago people would knock guys coming from that kind of offense. Times are a changing (I think for the better).

Scott Kacsmar: I might regret saying this, but I definitely believe today that St. Louis made the right quarterback decision. Not in love with Goff, but I would be scared to death to draft Wentz this high. So many red flags: he's already 24, the lack of college experience, the durability, the weak competition faced, the stacked team with the great defense and run-heavy offense (he had one game with 30-plus pass attempts). Athletically, he's getting compared to Andrew Luck, but stylistically, I see Doug Pederson trying to recreate Alex Smith here, which means success through minimizing the quarterback. Wentz's athleticism may aid him in a Mark Brunell type of manner, but he's not going to be someone you design runs for at the NFL level. Goff was the safer pick, and if you give him Todd Gurley and a defense that isn't constantly allowing 30-plus points, I think he can be a functional passer rather quickly in this league and finally get the Rams back to the playoffs. I just don't love that he's going to have to progress in a Jeff Fisher offense. Twenty full seasons and the guy has had one 3,500-yard passer and never a season with 25 touchdown passes. You moved from 15 to get this guy, let him be a star. And I still believe this trade never happens if the Rams were committed to St. Louis, but when you move to Los Angeles and need to make an immediate splash, something had to happen. You can't sell a new fanbase on Nick Foles and Case Keenum.

Aaron Schatz: Well, there is no Jeff Fisher offense, really. His coordinators in Tennessee were running much more of a downfield passing game than the coordinators in St. Louis. It's hard to say "Jeff Fisher can't develop quarterbacks" when he had Steve McNair. I think he's got the coaching and motivation stuff to develop Goff. The question is whether Rob Boras has the scheme to develop Goff.

Andrew Healy: Ezekiel Elliott at 4. What a poor decision. Absolute upside is Adrian Peterson and the pick is maybe OK. Downside is Trent Richardson. Or Blair Thomas. Middle side is really bad. Can't believe this is still happening. Let's just say this is not what Bill Belichick would do. Or Paul DePodesta. Or any smart team.

Tom Gower: Dallas takes Zeke Elliott fourth overall. I'm not in love with the top-end talent in this draft, and the best players are Tunsil, when they've already invested so much in the offensive line, and Myles Jack, who has that stupid knee. Given that, and the apparent three-down skill set, I don't hate Elliott as much I would generally hate a back going fourth overall. I'm not convinced he'll be a great runner, simply because I'm not sure how he'll do facing consistently more confined spaces. Of course, in Dallas, we might not learn the answer to that the same way we would on another team. It does seem like more of a short-term pick, but given where they are overall, that's a perfectly reasonable planning decision.

Nathan Forster: You might be skeptical about BackCAST's read on Ezekiel Elliott (especially because the model is still rough around the edges), but you don't need an advanced statistic to tell you that it's not a good idea to draft a running back in the top ten. Sure, you have guys like Edgerrin James and LaDainian Tomlinson in there. However, you also have plenty of guys like Curtis Enis and Trent Richardson who are out-and-out busts, as well as guys like Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, and Cedric Benson that were not failures per se, but definitely not worth the pick. That category also probably includes Darren McFadden, who coincidentally, Elliott is replacing.

Cian Fahey: I think the Chargers made a huge mistake. I like Bosa but not as a game-changing talent. He doesn't have an obvious fit inside or outside. Taking him ahead of Buckner, Ramsey and even Tunsil is just baffling.

Sterling Xie: I guess Dallas is having visions of an offense similar to the DeMarco Murray-powered 2014 unit which finished fourth in DVOA. And maybe they see Ramsey as being redundant with Byron Jones, who is a similarly long-armed versatile defensive back (though if you have an opportunity to upgrade from the likes of Brandon Carr and/or Barry Church, I don't understand why you pass that up). Maybe the Elliott pick is less egregious with the best edge rusher in Bosa being off the board, but I think Dallas missed a chance to add a premium cornerstone to a defense that needs a ton of talent.

Aaron Schatz: So happy for Gus Bradley and the Jaguars. I don't know if Jalen Ramsey is going to be Bradley's Earl Thomas or his Richard Sherman, but what the Jaguars most needed was a defensive back with greatness potential.

Cian Fahey: His Kam Chancellor.

Tom Gower: Jalen Ramsey to Jacksonville. Dave Caldwell apparently told Daniel Jeremiah he'll play corner and probably slot in nickel, answering one question (one I thought we got the answer to when they signed Tashaun Gipson). The pick made so much sense, we just assumed they'd outthink themselves on it.

Scott Kacsmar: This conversation desperately needed to happen in Dallas before tonight.

"Darren McFadden, where were you drafted by Oakland?"

"Fourth overall, Mr. Jones."

"But it didn't work too well since your success is still largely determined by the quality of your quarterback, the offensive line and your defense's ability to keep the game manageable, right?"

"Yes sir. That's why Alfred Morris and I would love to get another chance behind this great line with a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. We could use the help on defense."

"I see, well I'll take that into consideration."

But no, Jerry's ego probably got the best of him and he went for the star running back again instead of a defensive talent like Ramsey, who was taken by Jacksonville. About time the Jags get a potential standout in the secondary. Feels like a long time since that's happened.

Cian Fahey: I think Ramsey can be a good NFL cornerback but thought he could be a great safety. Will be an interesting player to follow.

Rob Weintraub: I see Ramsey struggling in the slot with smaller option-route receivers. Will be a race in those matchups -- can Ramsey physically pummel those quicker wide receivers before they turn him around?

Vince Verhei: We're five picks in and between trades and selections, Jacksonville has had the smartest draft so far.

Andrew Healy: ESPN just showed the video of Jaylon Smith's injury. Think we need a law to never show that again. Gruesome. Fascinating to see where he'll go.

Cian Fahey: The Ravens finally have a left tackle who can handle Jarvis Jones, Michael Johnson, and Paul Kruger.

Vince Verhei: Stanley goes before Tunsil. I'm watching NFL Network; they haven't mentioned a whisper about the alleged Tunsil gas mask video that surfaced right before the draft started. Are they talking about it on ESPN?

And here's Ian Rapoport talking about it, saying it is Tunsil in the video, though of course he didn't actually post it himself.

Ben Muth: I don't like the Zeke pick, but watching Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, and Christine Michael for a full year will cause you to do crazy things I guess.

Living in Dallas I hear fans say how McFadden was pretty good last year, and that is just so far from the truth that it's laughable. I'm relieved I won't have to hear that nonsense anymore. But I am bummed because I thought Alfred Morris could have a good year in Dallas and he's one of my favorite guys in the league. Still, Zeke behind that line should be great to watch.

Tom Gower: Ronnie Stanley to Baltimore. Tackle made a ton of sense for them, and he fits with Ozzie Newsome's mantra per Daniel Jeremiah, which is "Just hit doubles." Eugene Monroe v.2.0 to replace Eugene Monroe v.1.0, apparently. We'll see what the heck is going on with the Laremy Tunsil gas mask video posted slightly before the draft kicked off, and if that might have had anything to do with the decision to take Stanley over Tunsil, who I thought was a much better prospect.

Rob Weintraub: I mean, Abbi and Ilana are gigantic stars now basically for doing what the Tunsil alleged tweet shows, but Laremy may fall out of the top ten?

Aaron Schatz: I will say this about the Elliott pick... behind that line and with safeties worried about Dez Bryant instead of stacking the box, he's got to be close to even money to be Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Vince Verhei: Sure, but as I hinted on Twitter, that could happen, and Dallas could still get out-rushed by their opponents.

Andrew Healy: I'll take the field at those odds. Romo's chances of staying healthy... not good.

Rob Weintraub: My two cents on Wentz -- hey, that's a rhyme!-- when I went up to see him play in October (the game he broke his wrist, ironically) I was certainly impressed with many elements of his game and athleticism. His coach told me off the record that Wentz was miles better than Joe Flacco (whom he coached against) in college. He struck me as being very bright, certainly, and was 4-H Club square, so no worries there. Yet much as I was inclined to like him, at no point did I consider him a top-pick-in-the-draft caliber quarterback. Still astonished that the kinda nerdy redhead I spoke with in Fargo is now a franchise quarterback, for better or worse.

Andrew Healy: Browns now on the clock, what are the odds they trade down from 8? Think it's still close to 50 percent.

Nathan Forster: Browns trade pick. More solid proof that the analytics nerds are truly in charge in Cleveland!

Aaron Schatz: Andrew wins!

Andrew Healy: Wow, that was fast.

Cian Fahey: A first, a second, and a third for Jack freakin' Conklin. Bad teams stay bad.

Vince Verhei: I think Marcus and the rest of the Titans win. Trade out of top spot for a haul of picks, get the second tackle off the board anyway.

Wait, they gave up a first, a second, and a third? That can't be right. If so, I might take this back.

Tom Gower: Report the Ravens would've taken Tunsil at 6 without the video that came out tonight. Titans trade up, giving up the three they acquired from the Rams this year and their second-round pick next year, to move up from 15 to 8. I thought Conklin made sense at 15, and I understood trading up to 8 to get Conklin. But man oh man alive, that's a lot to give up for a right tackle.

Cian Fahey: The 11-to-20 picks in this class are going to be dramatically better players than the 1-to-10.

Aaron Schatz: I feel like... shouldn't everyone have already known Laremy Tunsil smoked weed a lot? Wouldn't his position on your draft board already be decided before that video came out?

Tom Gower: Yes, but never underestimate how much general managers don't want to answer awkward questions from reporters and, more importantly, owners on draft night, and isn't that the guy they just handed eight figures in guaranteed money to with the gas mask video tonight.

Vince Verhei: I don't think teams learned anything about his hobbies tonight, but they've got to be concerned he'll be suspended before he's even signed now.

Cian Fahey: This is the most bemusing draft ever so far. Eli Apple isn't even the second-best cornerback in this class and the Giants have so many needs elsewhere.

Andrew Healy: Time discounting is a disaster in the NFL. Next year's 2 is worth this year's 3, which is kind of the equivalent of giving up $100,000 next year to have $50,000 this year.

Without time discounting, here's what the accounting of the Browns trade with Tennessee would look like, assuming next year's No. 2 is middle of the round.

Jimmy Johnson chart:
Browns give up: 1400 (No. 8) + 21 (No. 176) = 1421
Browns get: 1050 (No. 8) + 420 (No. 48) + 210 (No. 76) = 1680

And that's on the chart that overvalues high picks. On the right chart (Chase Stuart's) the imbalance is even bigger towards the Browns.

At least Cleveland gets it. Can I get odds now on the Browns to win ten games in 2018?

Vince Verhei: Bears have ranked in the bottom half of the league in adjusted sack rate for eight straight seasons, so you can't fault them for grabbing a speed rusher.

Sterling Xie: This first round is so confusing. Supposedly the Giants wanted to take a tackle as of this afternoon, but with Tunsil screwing over everyone's boards, that quickly went out the window. Vernon Hargreaves was occasionally linked to them before the draft, but Apple was definitely no one's No. 1 cornerback. Kind of reminds me of their first round pick last year, when they took Flowers (another fairly raw prospect) ahead of other higher ranked players at his position.

Tom Gower: Floyd to the Bears: if a player's college team voluntarily moved him away from an edge rusher to an off-the-ball linebacker, do you draft him in the top ten as, presumably, an edge rusher? Vic Fangio is smart, but I really wonder about this fit.

The Giants then take Eli Apple at No. 10. I mean, he's better than Justin Gilbert, and Gilbert went eighth, was it, to Cleveland. But I'm still very surprised that he goes so early.

Rob Weintraub: Did the Giants take Eli Apple just for the "Big Apple" NY Post headlines?

Nathan Forster: So a question about the timing of the appearance of the Tunsil picture. On ESPN they said that it surfaced 10 minutes before the draft. I can buy that maybe a player with exceptionally poor judgment might take a picture like that and post it on Twitter contemporaneously with the events themselves occurring. Here, however, Tunsil was probably already dressed to the nines and ready to go to the green room. I doubt that he was walking to the draft room and thought "hey, let me post this pic of me doing my best Bane impersonation on twitter right now." It had to be somebody else that posted it, even if the picture is of Tunsil.

Vince Verhei: Oh, I'm 100 percent sure that somebody else had the video, hacked his account, and posted it. Zero doubt about that. But so what? The issue isn't who posted it, the issue is that he's sitting there doing bong hits in a gas mask with a camera in his face, and while you or I might not care about what a college kid does on his couch with friends, the NFL does. The video itself is the problem for the NFL, not how it got out.

Rob Weintraub: During the season you could definitely have convinced me that Tunsil/Nkemdiche would go 1-2 in the draft (and Treadwell in the top ten). Suddenly those dudes are more unpopular than the rebel flag.

Aaron Schatz: Mayock keeps talking about these first-round picks as sub package guys. It's what he's saying about Sheldon Rankins now. Uh, if you take a guy in the first round, don't you want a guy who plays in ALL packages? The NFL Network graphic had the listed comparable player as Mike Daniels. That's a nice player, but is that a top 12 players? What a weird draft.

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Cian Fahey: Rankins is a stud. More Geno Atkins than Mike Daniels in my opinion. Mayock just hasn't adjusted to the fact that NFL is nickel-heavy now.

Rob Weintraub: Seconded on Rankins being better than a Daniels comp. Elite penetrator with lower body coaches dream about.

Aaron Schatz: That's cool. Maybe what's weird about this draft is that Mike Mayock's graphics people are making terrible choices.

Cian Fahey: The Dolphins get Tunsil. They now have Tunsil, Branden Albert, Ja'Wuan James and Jermon Bushrod. I don't think any of them can play guard. Ben may have a better grasp than me, though.

Tom Gower: The Bucs took Hargreaves, a solid corner whom they otherwise probably would've taken at nine. The Saints, in desperate need of good defensive players, take a good defensive player in Sheldon Rankins. The Dolphins, who haven't drafted their left tackle in the past couple years, take Laremy Tunsil. I get Ben's point on Twitter, that a known character risk is now in the same position group as Mike Pouncey and whatever else happened a few years ago, but I thought Tunsil was the best player in the draft and the Dolphins get him at 13. Praising Miami's work in the draft twice in the same month (I said good things about their 2010 class in the six years later retrospective) feels weird given how much time the football commentariat spends making fun of Miami's work as a franchise.

Aaron Schatz: According to Adam Caplan on Twitter, $6 million of Branden Albert's $8.425 million base salary became fully guaranteed on March 13. Oops. If they want, Tunsil can sit on the bench for a year to learn and then they can cut Albert. Or they can try to make a trade. Or they could try to play Tunsil at guard, I suppose. I do think they were planning to try Bushrod at guard.

Cian Fahey: I'd guess Tunsil goes in at left tackle, Albert goes to right tackle, James is swing tackle and they try Bushrod inside.

Tom Gower: Jonathan Ogden played left guard his first year. Just draft good players you can put on the field. For first-round picks, if your time horizon is just the very next season, you'll make terrible decisions. (I may still be bitter.)

Ben Muth: I don't like Bushrod at guard at all. Maybe he can play inside, but the way he played at tackle (set soft, play conservative, know where you're help us and lean on it, don't get beat quick) will not play at guard. He'll be in Ryan Tannehill's lap. I think Albert would be better inside, but he may not be thrilled with the proposition.

As far as Tunsil goes, I understand the pick cause I assume he was their best available player, but as I mentioned on Twitter I think putting him in South Beach with Mike Pouncey (mandatory "meetings" in strip clubs at all hours, mandatory weekends in Vegas, not to mention the Martin stuff and being best buds with a convicted murderer) will not be the best place for him to succeed. Hopefully Pouncey has matured and Albert or Bushrod is a more assertive positive influence than Jake Long was when he was in that locker room.

Aaron Schatz: The Browns just took Corey Coleman, the No. 1 WR according to Playmaker Score and a player who absolutely fits a colossal need. Yay, analytics!

Tom Gower: Another variable in how teams evaluate players: Karl Joseph was coming off an ACL injury that ended his final season at West Virginia and went 14th without, that I saw, working out for anybody before the draft. That's about where I thought he should've gone without an injury.

Corey Coleman... Playmaker Score loved him. Josh Norris of Rotoworld did as well. That's how you should evaluate receivers -- not that Coleman was universally regarded as the top receiver by scouting types, but if the scouting types and the numbers agree, then you're probably making a better decision.

Aaron Schatz: The fact that a lot of online scouting types love Coleman does give me a reason to believe that he won't be another Stephen Hill or Sammie Coates, overrated by Playmaker because he's the only quality receiver on a run-heavy offense.

Vince Verhei: Adam Schefter pointed this out: It is impressive when you realize the Browns changed the No. 2 pick into Corey Coleman, a third, two fours, a 2017 first and a 2018 second. And they have 11 picks left and may not be done dealing.

Nathan Forster: I think ultimately Stephen Hill is just a different animal from Coleman, for the reasons that Tom touched on. I don't remember any scouting report that suggested that Hill was actually a good player -- he was all about being an interesting prospect with potential. Coleman, on the other hand, is recognized by scouts as having demonstrated football ability. There are just some concerns given the particular offense that Baylor ran. Hopefully, Coleman can catch a few touchdowns on fourth-and-9 plays as part of the analytics renaissance in Cleveland.

Tom Gower: Teams execute their philosophy. Keanu Neal to Atlanta and Ryan Kelly to the Colts are great examples of that. Obviously college safeties are extremely difficult to project to the NFL, but I thought Neal was in the same late-first-to-early-second-round range we've seen similar hitter safeties fall in in the past. Kelly, everybody loves him, but he's a center, and just how much is that worth? But both fit how I think those teams think, so neither was a surprise and both were mocked (Neal more in the mid-first lately).

When I think great 3-4 defenses, I mostly think of great pass rushing 3-4 outside linebackers. But Rex Ryan's great Jets teams didn't necessarily have that player. Shaq Lawson has a chance to be that kind of player, and it was a position of great need for them as I wrote pre-draft. Indianapolis, for one, could've used a player like him.

Cian Fahey: I never know what the Texans are thinking. Trading up for Will Fuller, who is basically Mike Wallace, with Josh Doctson on the board is baffling.

Tom Gower: I get into deep passing with the NBC column this year, so I get why teams covet deep threats so badly and it feels like are annually higher on them than those outside the NFL are. I don't love Fuller there, but the Texans did really need a receiver, he's more vertically explosive than Nuk Hopkins, and he's not 24. He's even Playmaker Score's second-favorite receiver (no, that note is absolutely not an endorsement that Pharoh Cooper should be the third receiver off the board).

Aaron Schatz: Here's your scouting vs. analytics debate, I guess. Playmaker much preferred Fuller to Doctson. Remember, Doctson is coming out as a senior, and the historical record of wide receivers drafted in the first round as seniors is not very good. Fuller may be just a speed demon, but he's a speed demon who had great production in college. Nothing for college receivers correlates better with NFL success than a high number of receiving touchdowns.

Rob Weintraub: Hue Jackson -- Corey Coleman.

Jay Gruden -- Josh Doctson.

Mike Zimmer -- Laquon Treadwell.

Bengals' coaching tree killing them in the draft.

Scott Kacsmar: A big run on wide receivers leads the Bengals to taking a cornerback. Interesting, but the one that stands out for me is Treadwell to Minnesota. Not sure I love that pick with the speed concerns. Teddy Bridgewater has definitely shown some short-passing affinity, so I could see a lot of catches with no YAC coming from that duo, though at least this receiver has some size. Just think Bridgewater would work better with quicker, shiftier receivers.

Aaron Schatz: Cornerback seems like the right pick for Pittsburgh. And I really like Seattle getting an extra third-round pick to move down just five spots in a trade with Denver.

Vince Verhei: Yeah, there's at least five good options on the board for Seattle, so moving five picks back and getting an extra mid-rounder is very obvious. Fourth straight year the Seahawks have traded their first-round pick to move back or get a veteran (Jimmy Graham).

Paxton Lynch goes to Denver, and Colin Kaepernick better get used to Chip Kelly's playbook.

Tom Gower: We criticize teams for not hitting on needs, but it's hard to read a pick like William Jackson for Cincinnati as anything other than pure best player available. The equation gets quite complicated, but long-term taking players other than the best player is not a great strategy. Again, quite complicated. That it took Jackson away from Pittsburgh and led them to select Artie Burns might have been a bonus, at least if they were on Burns where I was (like 20 picks later).

Aaron Schatz: Tweet by Ben Volin:

Cian Fahey: Eh, Elway tried to give him huge money. Let's not get carried away with the praise.

Nathan Forster: I don't pretend to have any insight into Paxton Lynch's talent, but has any first-round quarterback been better set up for success, or at least the perception of success, than he has? With Denver's defense, he'll be praised by the commentariat as a great game manager, even if he turns out to be slightly below average. Indeed, this team even created the illusion that Tim Tebow might be a viable NFL quarterback among some for a short period of time.

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Scott Kacsmar: Ryan Grigson was probably tempted by his choice of wide receivers and Kevin Colbert probably had Jack in mind, but none of that this year. Colts go interior O-line and Steelers go cornerback in the first round for the first time since 1997. Hard to argue with either, though I still don't care for the high center picks in general.

Broncos go up for Paxton Lynch. We can stop talking about Kaepernick and Sam Bradford being traded there. John Elway had to get something better than Mark Sanchez, though I'm still not sold Sanchez won't start Week 1. Can't recall many rookies starting in Gary Kubiak's system, and Lynch has that "project" label.

Aaron Schatz: The Packers need an inside linebacker and didn't take Myles Jack. His medical situation must be really, really bad. This drop is getting kind of nuts.

Tom Gower: Yeah, after the microfracture comments yesterday, I'm not too surprised Jack has fallen this far.

A fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick (105 + 178) to go from 37 to 28 doesn't seem so bad. What's weird is the 49ers traded up to pick Josh Garnett after Chip Kelly completely neglected the offensive line in Philadelphia after taking Lane Johnson. Maybe Trent Baalke is in charge after all.

Aaron Schatz: Did the 49ers really just trade a fourth-round pick and a sixth-round pick in order to move up nine spots and take a guard? They couldn't get a good guard at pick 37?

Ben Muth: I like Garnett and think he's got a chance to be a really good player, but I don't like trading up for a guard that isn't absolutely can't-miss. Garnett does a lot of things well, finishes blocks, pulls exceptionally well, and he's a stout powerful player. But he leads with his dome on pass pro and can be sloppy with his hands. Plus he's not an elite athlete. He's plays with power but I'm not sure if playing in a lot of space at the line of scrimmage like he will in San Francisco is the best fit for him. Going from Stanford's offense, where 22 personnel at midfield is not a rare occurrence (so there's bodies everywhere) and you grind the clock to a shotgun/tempo offense is really different. That being said, his legs are freakishly strong and he's a smart kid that works hard. Good chance he figures it out. Just not sure I'd use three picks on him.

Aaron Schatz: Dave Gettleman sure loves his defensive tackles in Carolina. I wouldn't be surprised if the Vernon Butler pick suggests they will allow Kawann Short to leave after this season. Sure, you can have three really great defensive tackles, but is it worth paying for Short's big second contract if you have Butler?

Rob Weintraub: No doubt that's a "Farewell and Godspeed, Kawann" pick.

Cian Fahey: Norris says Short has a contract coming. Butler likely more about replacing Star Lotulelei.

Aaron Schatz: If that's the case, they'll have all three guys for two years, because they already picked up Lotulelei's option for 2017.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks end up with Germain Ifedi, who will be a Day 1 starter at right tackle or perhaps guard, and also pick up a third-rounder. Nothing wrong with that, but with the players San Francisco and Arizona added tonight, feels like they still have work to do.

Tom Gower: Round 1: The quarterbacks are the quarterbacks. Obviously I like the teams that traded down, by and large. Teams that traded up have to be right. Teams that gave up a whole lot to trade up, like the teams that went quarterback at the very top of the draft and the Titans getting Conklin, really have to be right.

Highlights of the first round: Nobody really went that crazy. There were no real "how on earth did that guy go in the first round?" moments, or at least enough leaks that players like Burns and Neal were not surprises. Thank you, Christian Hackenberg to the Bills at 19 rumors, you were fun while you lasted. The popular story will be Laremy Tunsil, the video (apparently two years old), and his comments about taking money from a coach at Ole Miss to help pay bills. Obviously not the sort of thing you're supposed to admit (I'm not even going to pretend that sort of thing doesn't happen, and Ole Miss having the success they did recruiting made people including me suspicious on general principles). I think he's very good, and I don't trust the NFL to evaluate character properly, especially with the hot news. That's where an owner with a strong voice and sense of risk-taking can really make a difference -- if Jimmy Haslam hadn't been so gung-ho about taking Johnny Manziel, would the Cleveland general manager have been willing to do the same (assuming, of course, that the general manager was so high on Manziel's talent, which of course the story about the $100,000 analytics report suggests he wouldn't have been)?

Scott Kacsmar: Can certainly disagree with what a few teams did, but the only one I really hate at this point is what Philadelphia did. Why sign Bradford to the contract they did and bring in Chase Daniel at a real backup premium when you trade so much to get a risky player like Carson Wentz?

A team that really may have lucked out was Miami. Move down to 13 and still get Tunsil, who would have gone to Baltimore if not for an old video going viral tonight.

Rob Weintraub: For the Bengals, if you are going to get screwed out of every receiver prospect than taking the draft's best cornerback and swiping him from Pittsburgh is a decent consolation. Still, was drooling for Doctson, and when Houston took Fuller it was right there. Alas.


47 comments, Last at 01 May 2016, 11:16pm

2 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

I'll re-post from the open thread, because, while the NFL obviously does a magnificent job in capturing the sports media in the middle of their offseason, the reality is that randomness dominates the draft, and it'll be years before the residue of that randomness is fully revealed. The Patriots are generally acknowledged to be the model franchise of the past decade and a half, but you wouldn't know it by their drafting. Yeah, they manage their draft inventory really well, but the reason they do that is that is because they know that they are just making semi-educated guesses, like everybody else.

Whenever I hear somebody say that a team got unlucky when player A, playing position X, was taken while the team as on deck, so the team had to settle for player B, at the same position, I remember the last years of the McCombs ownership era for the Vikings. They were so disorganized and penny pinching that the roof was going unrepaired at their headquarters, and buckets would be placed out to catch the indoor rain. They wouldn't let Tice hire a full coaching staff. They had no clear lines of authority for the draft, and one year they didn't get their card into Tagliabue in time, so the Chiefs got to jump in front of them, and they took the DT the Vikings wanted to draft, Ryan Sims. The Vikings are forced to settle for DT Kevin Williams. Williams ends up a 5 time first team All-Pro, and possible HOFer, and Sims is just a guy, with 9 career sacks.

Nobody knows nuthin'.

4 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Yep, the draft reminds me of the famous quote by William Goldman: “Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.”

Goldman wrote classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, and The Princess Bride and also, um, Dreamcatcher. Crapshoot.

18 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Baalke in SF, too, handles his draft picks pretty well -- he had a tendency to overpay in the 1st to get his man, but otherwise always manages to have a vast number of picks every year.

That hasn't translated to a lot of star power in general.

3 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

"At least Cleveland gets it. Can I get odds now on the Browns to win ten games in 2018?"

Can we wait until we see who the Browns actually pick with all these picks?

I remember the world getting all hot for the 49ers in the height of the Harbuagh / Baalke days for trading all the time, acquiring tons of picks and then picking scores of players that fell for one reason or the other.

Nearly all of those guys ended up doing nothing in the league, and a few years later the marraige is gone and Baalke star is shining a lot less brightly.

Analytics tells you to get all the picks you can. What will really matter is who the Browns pick with those draft picks.

8 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Yeah, the Browns have had an incredible number of trade downs over the last decade, and the most barren roster in the league because they've drafted busts, and turned over their coaching staff a hundred times, so nobody has been put into a position to succeed.

They still have to actually draft decent players and not move to replace half of them because the next retread coach they hire in 2 years needs to implement a new scheme.

5 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Miami went up for Dion Jordan with horrible results, traded for Rickey Williams with mixed results (he was good when he was eligible to play) and of course took the sliding Dan Marino with positive results. So basically it could work out and no one knows how this player will act once in the NFL. Miami's bigger problems are the huge holes at multiple positions in their roster, but taking the best player available is hard to knock. It's not like they can draft 10 players with that 1 pick.

6 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

I don't understand when teams swap 1st rounders, people say about the team that moved up "The gave up a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd" when it should be "they gave up a 2nd and a 3rd to swap 1sts."

Or am I wrong here?

20 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

No, I find it confusing too. If you're talking about the full details of the trade, then yes, the swapped 1st round picks should be included. But if you're saying that one team "gave up" X amount of picks, then it's misleading to include the 1st because they didn't give up a 1st, they swapped 1sts with another team.

Once they've drafted the player, you can argue that the player's total cost to them was the pick they used plus the ones they gave up, but again it always throws me to read it that way.

40 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

You're not wrong.

Sometimes people say that because they are trying to get at how much one player "cost" the team, so they include the pick used to take him plus the others used to trade for him.

Other times they are just exaggerating how big a trade was for the purpose of strengthening their argument.

7 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

It looks like Bradford is going to adopt The Full A-hole Approach to getting out of Philly. Who knows? If he really achieves critical mass in gaping orificeness, he might even be able to force the Eagles to cut him. Unhappy qbs can screw up a team like no other player. If he just shows up when he absolutely needs to, gives press conferences which make things a lot more difficult for Daniel and Wentz, he might be able to force the Eagles to cut him loose. Sam passes "Go" with 22 million, boosting his career earnings past 100 million, and free to sign wherever he wants. Given the desperation at the position, is there any doubt that he would have a variety of options?

Tom Condon is a great freakin' agent, and I wish Favre had adopted this approach in the spring/summer of 2008.

12 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

They absolutely can't cut him. It would cost them more against the cap to cut him than to keep him. A lot more. From what I remember the same is true of Daniel. If they can't trade him, they're simply going to have to weather the storm.

17 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Exactly, cutting Bradford would be very expensive right now. It's getting messy.

For those playing at home, here is the Eagles offseason: the plan was to fill their big holes in free agency (Rodney McLeod at safety, Brandon Brooks at guard), extend their promising young players (Vinny Curry, Lane Johnson, uh Brent Celek), sign the best QB they could (Bradford, who turned out to be expensive, as did Chase Daniel...). But halfway through they found out Fletcher Cox wanted a truckload of cash, and there wouldn't be any left for Bennie Logan or Nolan Carroll, who both started last year.

The choices left to them were: A) accept that those guys will have to leave next year in FA, or B) find some money, and the best way was to get cheaper at your most expensive position: QB. They have obviously gone for plan B. Trouble with plan B is that it is contingent on flipping Bradford, or even if they have to swallow Bradford's 2016 cash and keep him, that plan requires having a happy Bradford play out 2016. Neither may occur, and that could mean extended speculation about Bradford and Cox, making a difficult environment for a first year head coach to control. Bradford needs to be traded fast, even if it's for a low pick. Dreams of a 1st or 2nd are probably gone (unless the Browns bite), so it will be interesting to see who will offer the Eagles what.

23 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Oh, Bradford wouldn't stay home, because that would mean not getting paid. He'd show up and be a complete and total, energy sucking, pain in the a$$, while not doing enough to make it possible for the Eagles to suspend him, and I don't think the CBA allows, any more, for a team to send a guy home with pay, just because they don't want him around. If he's on the roster, and hasn't been suspended, I think they are required to let him come to work.

Is it impossible for a qb to be such an A-hole that it isn't worth avoiding another 5.5 million in cap space consumed? I dunno, but it sure would be entertaining to see somebody test the proposition.

9 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

When the Bucs passed on Tunsil for the first time, I audibly groaned; when they passed on him for the second time, I fell on the floor, screamed multiple obscenities, and began flipping off my TV repeatedly. The problem with Tunsil is not that he got under-the-table payments or smoked pot (because I expect those things from players and couldn't care less), it's that he apparently has a scumball stepfather who had access to his social media passwords. Cost the kid millions.

Glad Tampa picked up a bonus 4th rounder and I'd already pretty much resigned myself to the Bucs drafting Hargreaves, but knowing you could have had potentially the best player in the draft and skipped him twice is going to be painful for possibly years to come.

11 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Thought the same about Tunsil, that he did a very nice job presenting himself in what was undoubtedly a humiliating and upsetting experience. It's supposed to be one of the greatest nights of his life, and this instead happens. Pretty impressive to see how he handled it. Last night was just another reminder that the NFL is a public relations organization that happened to play football; if those videos had come out a week ago and there'd been time for damage control, teams would have snapped him up, but drafting a guy who used TEH EVIL MARIJOOANA and it comes out moments before the draft? He had to fly off teams' draft boards just because of the whole "THINK OF THE CHILDREN" aspect of things.

21 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

That's pretty much how I feel about the Bears. When they traded with the Bucs I assumed it was to grab Tunsil, but I guess they expected either the Bucs or Giants to take Floyd? Regardless, I hope I look like an idiot in 4 years for saying this, but I totally wish they had taken Tunsil.

As I mentioned on the other thread, what's bizarre to me isn't that a player using marijuana concerns teams. It's that teams who presumably knew enough about him before the draft to be able to guess that he had probably smoked marijuana before, and also knew that he had passed drug tests and not been in legal trouble for marijuana, were so undone by a video that proved only that he has smoked it before. This isn't a guy failing a test or getting busted a couple weeks before the draft (which shows really bad decision-making skills if nothing else).

29 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

For the teams at the very top of the draft there was very little time to process the new information, and the alternatives were still very good. It was a certainly a strange development, and enough to justifiably sway a close decision.

But yes, I agree that after SF at 7 there was a consensus that the other very top tier prospects had gone, and teams ought to have had enough time to absorb the information. Simply refusing to draft Tunsil at all (it was said that certain teams had removed him from their boards entirely) is not an acceptable evaluation of risk given the points you make, and if I was in charge of the Titans/Bears/Bucs/Giants I would be today quizzing my GM on exactly where they had Tunsil on their boards after the new information emerged.

37 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

I can imagine the Bears were all but sure that Tunsil would be gone at 11, but I would hope they did some level of homework on him and the other probable top picks just to be able to say "if for some strange reason he falls, would we want him?"

Of course, maybe they felt he was overrated to begin with and had Floyd well ahead of him before the night started. If that's the case, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt on the pick. If they had him rated very highly and passed only because of the uncertainty about the video and/or surprise that he was available, then I'm pissed.

13 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

"His coach told me off the record that Wentz was miles better than Joe Flacco (whom he coached against) in college."

Bet the coach will be really happy to see that got published on a leading football stats website ...

16 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Why does the Panthers drafting Butler have to mean that KK or Star is on the way out? he's young at 21, and they are 26 and 27, iirc. With the money saved on Norman, the Panthers have a ton of cap room, and can use a strong rotation and also have injury "insurance." Then when the older guys age out, Butler will be coming up for renewal... circle of life. If Soliai retires after this one-year deal look for ANOTHER DT next year... This is the Gettleway. Gettlism? "You can't have too many Hog Mollies!"

22 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Is anybody able to make a reasonable guess what the NFL does to Tunsil regarding the video? I know Goodell pretty much does whatever pops into his head, and I am sure there are different penalties for current players as opposed to incoming players, but I thought that the first failed drug test was not suspendable, but that it just put the player into the substance abuse program. The video is not a failed drug test, but wouldn't it logically count the same at worst, and put Tunsil under greater scrutiny but not result in a suspension yet?

Unless Goodell invokes something like "the video made the league look bad" and suspends him anyway.

30 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

He hasn't signed a contract (yet) and he's not part of the union, so Goodell can do jack at this point.

Now, if Goodell took action, that WOULD be an interesting legal challenge as to whether he can discipline him for events that occurred before he was subject to the CBA.

36 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Terrelle Pryor got suspended from the NFL for breaking NCAA rules, so unless something has changed since then it doesn't seem like there's a blanket prohibition on suspending players for something that happened before they entered the NFL.

24 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Based on the draft work I've done, the draft is random, but in a very unusual way. If one defines bust as someone who is out of the league in a few years, then bust probability moves in lockstep with expected value; ie a log decline. In other words, the drop off in talent is dramatic in the beginning and thins out by the time you hit the mid of the second round; to an extent where a late second rounder is marginally better than your mid fourth rounder, which then becomes indistinguishable from 5th and 6th rounders. Almost all late 6th and 7th rounders are gone in 2 years.

In that regard, it might make sense to trade out of the 2nd and 3rd, and acquire lots of 4ths and 5ths and if you're going to trade up, make it a really trade up to the highest echelons of the first round.

26 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Hmmm, your comment about 6th and 7th rounders confirms something I've suspected about the Vikings' drafting, that they have done unusualy well in the 6th and 7th round. From 2006 through 2013, they have drafted 11 guys in the 6th and 7th round who have lasted more than 2 years in the league, and it isn't because the Vikings rosters have been so bad. A fair number of those guys left the Vikings, and then hung a round for a few years on other teams.

34 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

You'd be surprised. A terrible pick tends to be gone pretty quickly, even if he's a high pick. Btw, I would define bust as really not starting for 4 years at least. High draft picks are rarely asked to start 4 years when they are awful.

I had to create my own scoring metric, instead of using AV which heavily position biased. I created mine of probowls, all pros, starts, and years in the league(along with combing through Dr.Z;'s all pro articles). Flawed to be sure, but at least they have a consistent set of spots for each position every year. I even corrected for linebackers vs pass rushers.

38 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Two major flaws in your system (one of which AV covers), very little to no value given to special teams. 1) A 4th round linebacker who contributes to special teams can be very good value. 2) no credit for playing for good units while not getting individual accolades (AV counts this).

Regarding starting, Shea McClellin has started 10+ games 3 years in a row while being bad all 3 years.

41 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

To address:

The scoring system grades on a scale capped at 8 years starting - this was done to ensure no position bias.

You do get credit for staying in the league for a long time. The scoring system is graduated, a big boost coming from starting for 8 seasons(meaning you lasted the length of a second contract). It turns out, very few draft picks at any point meet this standard.

The scoring system was vetted by how well it fit the data, with the usual caveats applied to avoid overfitting.

As for the special teams, yes - I did not score draft picks on special teams and yes its a flaw; but I did not know a way to normalize special teams contributions with the rest of the scoring criteria, so they were omitted with the appropriate caveats.

43 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Correct. In fact, predraft grades of draft picks didn't start till 2008(for the full draft); so I couldn't even use them. My draft index starts in 1978(the first dr.z all pro article I could find).

But I think the point stands. To really mine the draft well, it appears you should try and trade up in the first(sacrificing your second); but then trading your third to acquire 4ths and 5ths and trading 7ths for 6ths,

Risk basically moves in lockstep with return here, so its not like you're trading for return by taking on a ton more risk.

33 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Regarding Wentz, Cian Fahey wrote above "Wentz hasn't got any of these questions despite playing FCS football in a simple scheme ...."

I'm an Eagles fan and everything I've read about him up until that statement has indicated that the NDSU offense was "pro-style", included multiple formations, and allowed Wentz to make changes at the line.

Eagles O-cordinater Frank Reich comments on that here:

Additional articles all mentioning the pro-style or complicated offense he ran:

So my question is oversight by Cian in not digging deep enough or fluff by the other articles/writers making the NDSU offense more then it is?

45 Re: Audibles: 2016 NFL Draft Day 1

Just want to go on record saying that Colts will regret passing on Lawson. Could have picked Martin in 2nd round for interior line.