When the draft process started, it was a foregone conclusion that the Patriots would rid themselves of two players on expiring contracts who are about to cash in. The Patriot way. Now that we are less than one week away, all is quiet on the New England front. Malcolm Butler has reluctantly signed his RFA tender, and Garrapolo appears to be settled as TB12's heir apparent. However, the draft is the mother of all crazy deals and trades. I fully expect to see both Butler traded to the Saints (pick 32) and Garrapolo to the Browns (picks 12, 33).
Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker have been considered top prospects in this class from the time the draft process started to the time it approaches its end. That is no small feat, especially when you consider the falls that players like Jabrill Peppers and Reuben Foster have succombed to. Not only are these safeties considered top prospects, each one of them makes a strong case to be regarded as a generational safety prospect. So why do I predict a draft day slide? Well, the last time 2 safeties were picked in the top 10 was 2006. Malik Hooker is still injured and will likely not return until after the start of OTA's. Adams played most of his career at strong saftey, and projects to that position at the next level. Unfortunatly for Jamal, strong safeties typically do not have enough positional value to be considered a top 5 pick.
Not since the days of Eric Ebron, Vernon Davis and Kellen Winslow jr. has a tight end been selected in the top 10 draft picks. O.J. Howard seems to be a different breed of prospect. With only his lack of production as a flaw, Howard projects to be a lock for the top 20 selections in this years draft. Is Howard neccesarily a better prospect than Vernon Davis? Well, it's hard to say. The more important factor is that tight ends have never been more crucial to a gameplan than they are in todays NFL. I suspect that the Jaguars or Titans will lock Howard up with the 4th or 5th pick, respectively.
Mitch Trubisky. Patrick Mahomes. Deshaun Watson. Deshone Kizer. Those 4, in that order. These prospects have polorized every scout from Canton to Charlotte. Some see Trubisky as the first overall pick, whereas some see him as a day 2 prospect. Some see Deshone Kizer as the next Aaron Rodgers, some see him as the next cashier at Burger King. Regardless of your personal opinion of these players, the state of quarterback play in the NFL is embarassing. Over 16 teams could stand to improve their signal caller. With coaches job security being significantly shorter than other eras of football, it would be wise for coaches to find their guy. Davis Webb, Nathan Peterman, and Brad Kaaya should all be selected before the middle of round 3 as well.
Obi Melifonwu has had the best draft process of any prospect not named Haason Reddick. Melifonwu followed in his fellow Huskie's teammate Byron Jones and put on a dominating display at the Combine. Obi stands at a massive 6'4 but still managed to run a 4.4 second 40 yard dash. Melifonwu is the future of NFL secondaries and will likely be viewed as the answer to the big tight ends that are in todays game. I expect his floor to be #21 to the Detroit Lions.
This prediction has been picking up steam as the draft (slowly) approaches, and now it seems it may not be that bold after all. McCaffrey was a dominant and historically great player at Stanford. McCaffrey is both a powerful, elusive runner and a shifty, mismatch at the reciever position. McCaffrey also adds value on special teams as a returner. With so many RB needy teams in the top 10, and a significant lack of depth after the top 4, I expect McCaffrey's absolute floor to be the Panthers and Bengals at 8 and 9, respectively.
You all have been hearing me say it all draft process, so I'm gonna say it one more time for the people in the back: Evan Engram is a superior player to David Njoku. That's not a knock on Njoku as much as it is an appraisal of Evan Engram. Engram recorded a top 10 40 times for all players at the combine. He has great size and intangibles for the position, and is a willing blocker. Along with O.J. Howard, expect both Engram and Njoku to get snatched up before the end of Thursday night.
What bold predictions do you have for the draft? Leave a reply in the comments or submit your own article by clicking "Write" in the top right corner of the navigation bar.
|Tony Garcia||Yea. i would not be surprised if Obi goes top 20. Last year Eli Apple went at number 10 passing on Hargreaves|