The draft is less than a week away and I now have a reason to turn on my television set again. Although there are other sports to watch true NFL fans understand that their is nothing like the euphoria you feel when your favorite team scores a game winning touchdown or when the defense makes a memorable goal line stand at the one yard line.
It has been nearly three months since Victor Cruz salsa danced his way to a Super Bowl and Tebowmania took the world by storm. With the season swiftly approaching several fans wonder who will be the next surprise or headliner to make noise this upcoming season. Although there are seven rounds in the NFL Draft jobs in your favorite teams’ front office are won and lost based on their ability to affectively evaluate talent, ignore bloated statistics, and ultimately strike gold in the first round and discover diamonds in the rough in the latter rounds.
Although the draft misses that teams make on quarterbacks are more widely publicized recent drafts suggest that investing in running backs, defensive linemen and wide receivers are far too risky and seldom yield consistent success.
In this upcoming NFL Draft 1 running back (Trent Richardson), 3 wide receivers (Blackmon, Floyd, and Wright), and 6 defensive lineman (Poe, Brockers, Coples, Ingram, Upshaw and Cox) are projected as locks to be selected in the first round. However, out of all of these athletes that have been glamorized by playing for premiere programs or who have posted impressive combine numbers I would only draft one of them in the first round. Why not you ask, because the production that you could get for trading the first round pick for a chance at Mike Wallace would yield far better results:
- Trent Richardson – front office personnel must ask themselves if the wear and tear of the SEC has diminished the amount of years he can be productive in the NFL. He has already gone under the knife for his knee. Is one good year on 1.5 knees worth the investment of nearly 15 million dollars in guaranteed money?
- Justin Blackmon & Michael Floyd – although no one can question their production and dominance at the college level one could ask ‘if you act a fool in college what’s to stop you from acting the same way when you have millions dollars at your disposal?
- Kendall Wright – be weary of one year wonders, over a four-year career his production only began to eclipse with the development and improvement of his Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin. Last year he was only considered a 3rd developmental pick at best, and the only thing that changed between this year and last year was the play of his quarterback
- Dontari Poe – if you cannot even register a sack in Conference USA why should one assume that you will be productive in the NFL. Although considered a first round lock by many, his inability to not dominate his opposition or garner first team all conference honors in a non BCS league is a serious cause for concern
- Melvin Ingram & Courtney Upshaw – their production and sometimes dominance in the SEC is well documented but very rarely do undersized lineman contribute consistently in the NFL and only serve as situational pass rushers which does not warrant a first round selection. Elite undersized rushers like Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney and Terrell Suggs are rare breeds and several teams have wasted their first round selections in an effort to find a player with similar measurable
- Michael Brockers – although he possess impressive measurables his limited production does not warrant an investment of a first round selection, developmental picks are best selected in later rounds.
- Quinton Coples – despite his dominance at the Senior Bowl a player with a questionable motor and inconsistent play will certainly cause a position coach headaches and possibly a front office personnel their job.
Surprisingly through my process of elimination the safest potential first rounder to select amongst these players is the defensive tackle from Mississippi State Fletcher Cox. For three years under the tutelage of a well-respected d-line coach Cox has steadily improved as a tackle that clogs up the running game. It is rare to see an athlete with his impressive measurables who is versatile enough to play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme without little drop off.
You’ve read it here first, FLETCHER COX WILL BE THE STEAL OF THE DRAFT which explains why his stock will continue to rise as draft day gets closer. However the secret is out mock drafts are now projecting him to go as high as the 6th pick in the NFL Draft. – A. Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)