The drama of the 2016 NFL Draft was concentrated in the happenings before the main event with two trades at the top, tracking the “injury sliders” (Myles Jack and Jaylon Smith), and following yet another wild turn in the saga that is Laremy Tunsil.
Beyond that, it was yet another exhilarating installment of what has become one of the premier events in sports. While the first round was fun, Day Two holds plenty of promise with a lot of talent concentrated in those rounds.
Here are the top stories from Day One:
- Rams and Eagles Land their Prize—The first two picks went as expected with Jared Goff going to the Rams and Carson Wentz going to the Eagles. No drama on Draft Day with those two. Both franchises gave up a bounty to move up and grab these QBs that have significant question marks. I see bigger upside with Wentz, who I think will be a standout, but these players will be scrutinized as a pair for years to come.
- Tunsil Tumbles—A Draft Day social media flub as well as injury concerns, character issues, and family drama led to a fall for Tunsil, once considered the sure #1 pick for the Titans. Thought to be, going into the day, a prime target for the Chargers who would fall no lower than the Ravens at #6, Tunsil slid all the way to #13. I was not convinced that he was a top-five talent, but his fall to the Dolphins could prove to be a steal or major bust for the franchise.
- Denver Adds the Heir—Moving up from #31 to #26, the Denver Broncos addressed the quarterback position by adding Paxton Lynch late in the first round. The Memphis product has all the tools, and I would not be surprised if he passes Goff in terms of productivity out of this draft. He certainly walks into the best situation possible for a rookie QB that needs development.
- Injuries Hurt—Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack might have been ranked #1 and #2 in terms of projecting to the NFL out of college if not for their injuries. Smith, who was injured in the Fiesta Bowl, saw his stock tumble weeks ago with some bad medical reports. Jack, who was injured early in the season, was still seen as top-five pick until recently. That all changed in recent days with growing concerns over his knee, called “a ticking time bomb” by some medical professionals. Neither was drafted Thursday night, and two other prospects (Shaq Lawson, whose shoulder raised question marks, and Reggie Ragland, who has an enlarged aorta and did not get picked on Day One) also fell due to health concerns.
- And the Winner Is…the Browns???—I cannot believe I am saying this, but I love what the Browns have done so far in the Draft. While their top pick of Corey Coleman was viewed as a slight reach by some, I see him as the playmaker the team has desperately needed. Moreover, the team has six picks remaining in the top 100. The Browns have dumped significant veterans, but they seem focused on adding a youth infusion and doing things the right way. Things can always change quickly, but there is reason for some—some—optimism in Cleveland.
Best Pick: Buffalo Bills Take DE Shaq Lawson (Clemson) at #19 and Arizona Cardinals Take DL Robert Nkemdiche (Ole Miss) at #29 (Tie)—Tremendous value for both of these picks. Lawson’s shoulder and Nkemdiche’s character caused them to fall, but they went to good fits and both are too talented to have fallen so far.
Worst Pick: San Francisco Trades Up to Take G Josh Garnett (Stanford)—This was a huge reach, and that does not even factor that the 49ers gave up multiple picks to move back in the first round to grab Garnett. A weird pick for an organization that has been reeling.