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2017 NFL Draft: Random Thoughts

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The draft process is almost over...and the rumour mill continues to pick up steam.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Penn State vs Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The week before the draft is when the “anonymous scout” reports ramp up even further. I usually try to tune out most of them, but its hard not to get wrapped up in them sometimes. For now, here’s another edition of 2017 Draft Random Thoughts:

  • We need to talk about OJ Howard. He went from an underrated prospect to an overrated one over the past few months. I get what everyone sees in him. He’s an excellent blocker and has good receiving skills. He also happened to have the biggest games of his career in the National Championship the past two seasons. On one hand you can look at that and say he elevates his game when it matters most. On the other, why wasn’t he consistently a threat in the other games? In the championship rematch with Clemson he had four catches, a touchdown, and 106 yards. He only crossed 50 yards receiving in three of the other 14 games he played in, and only had two TDs in that span. I just don’t buy that Alabama had this massive offensive weapon that they just didn’t want to use that often. Howard is a first round player in my book but in the 16-32 range.
  • One tough evaluation for me remains Adoreé Jackson. He’s consistently so much fun to watch, whether in coverage or returning kicks. He has really nice ball skills and instincts in coverage. He also seems to rely heavily on his speed though, and that will be an issue when his competition is just as fast as he is.
  • Quarterbacks always tend to “rise” as the draft inches closer, and this year seems to be following that pattern. Teams all have their draft grades and board set at this point, but the rise is usually linked to teams trying to ensure ‘their guy’ doesn’t get scooped up ahead of them. I looked back at the past 10 drafts (2007-16). Nine out of the 10 had at least one quarterback drafted in the top 10 selections, with only 2013 not like the others. That year only EJ Manuel went in the first round, with the 16th pick. I still expect at least one quarterback to sneak into the first ten picks.
  • Keeping the above point in mind, here’s Mocking The Draft’s Dan Kadar doing some excellent work using Jimmy Johnson’s old trade value chart and Football Perspective’s updated one:
  • Trading down is always hard to do, but if Cleveland wanted to move up then both of those trades would make a lot of sense for Tenneseee. There is going to be a lot of talent falling into the start of the second round.
  • One name linked to the Titans in deeper mocks is Ahkello Witherspoon, a cornerback from Colorado. The fit seems pretty perfect for Tennessee. He’s a long, perimeter corner that played a lot of press man coverage in college. He’s got some of the best feet in his position group (quick, decisive steps), especially for a big corner. He doesn’t have that many games available on Draft Breakdown, but his match up against Washington’s John Ross is great viewing. Both he and Ross won their share of the battles.