We've constantly found ourselves running behind schedule, when it came to our attempts to pick apart this year's draft prospects. Reilly and I also found ourselves struggling to find the time to put together our prospect shopping list, The Little Big Board, for our annual bout of idiocy, The Ozzie Newsome Challenge. This all should have been wrapped up about a week ago, but we've been feeling a bit sluggish lately.
In our last two editions of the Little Big Board, we wound up with 56 prospects that we would have been willing to pursue for our fictional team. This year, we struggled to come up with 50. Even then, we probably included quite a few players that we normally wouldn't really be very happy with. The list probably would have been closer to 40, if we didn't toss in some "filler", to give us some more options. We're probably going to have to spend the next 24 hours reevaluating this list, to see if we can improve it, but for now, it is what it is.
Jared Goff, QB, Cal
Vernon Hargreaves MMXVI, CB, Florida
Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida St.
DeForest Buckner, DE/DT, Oregon
Sheldon Rankins, NT/DT, Louisville
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi ?
Joey Bosa, DE/OLB, Ohio State
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma St
Kevin Byard, SS/FS, Middle Tennessee State *
Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
Kamalei Correa, OLB, Boise St.
Sean Davis, CB/S, Maryland
Connor McGovern, G, Missouri *
Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
Bronson Kaufusi, DE/DT, BYU
Vernon Butler, NT, Louisiana Tech
James Bradberry, CB, Samford
Darius Jackson, RB, Eastern Michigan *
Jonathan Bullard, DE/DT, Florida
Tyrone Holmes, OLB, Montana *
Jordan Lucas FS/SS, Penn State
Joe Thuney, G/C, North Carolina State
Kalan Reed, CB, Southern Mississippi
Xavien Howard CB, Baylor
Daniel Lasco, RB, California
Jatavis Brown, OLB, Akron
Nick Kwiatkoski OLB, West Virginia
Ben Braunecker, TE, Harvard
Joe Haeg, T, North Dakota State
Brandon Shell, T, South Carolina
KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame
Jordan Jenkins, DE/OLB, Georgia
Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State
Miles Killebrew SS, Southern Utah
Brandon Chubb, ILB, Wake Forest
Michael Pierce, NT, Samford *
Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati
Kavon Frazier SS, Central Michigan
Ian Wells CB, Ohio
Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama
Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota
Isaac Seumalo, C, Oregon State
Jason Fanaika, DE, Utah
Justin Zimmer, DT, Ferris State
Jake Brendel, C, UCLA
Micah Awe, ILB, Texas Tech
Mike Jordan, CB, Missouri Western State
Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin
Yeah, we're not too happy with how this list turned out. Part of the problem is, we just don't think this year's pool of prospects is particularly exceptional. Still, some positions might present better options than others.
The interior defensive line prospects look pretty good, in general. There are probably some pretty good defensive backs out there. The offensive linemen, as a group, seem to at least have a number of solid possibilities. All things considered, a team can probably find some decent options at these positions, without too much difficulty.
On the other hand, we really don't like this year's group of wide receivers. The outside pass rushers seem to have some reasonably reliable options, but almost nobody we have a great passion for. The linebackers seem a bit ho-hum. The running backs look like a steaming pile of mediocrities, whose futures will be more determined by their offensive lines, than their individual greatness. It's all a bit frustrating.
With so many of the flashier positions appearing to be a bit weak, we're leaning towards the idea that this might be a good draft for teams to take a very cautious approach. They might want players to fill certain positions, but the talent might not be as plentiful in some of the more prestigious areas. This feels like a year where some prospects will have to emerge as great players, despite not fitting a lot of the normal criteria that makes success relatively predictable. We might have to count on a few anomalies to bolster this year's class. That's fine, and is a normal part of the process, but this year it might matter a bit more for some positions.
In general, we're strongly leaning towards the idea that this year might
be a fairly ideal time to trade current draft picks for future ones.
The premium that most teams charge for such trades is almost always a
huge benefit for the team with less immediate concerns, but we also suspect that next year's pool of talent will
probably also be a bit better. It would almost have to be.
I currently suspect that Team Kangaroo is probably going to load up on defensive backs this year, as there are a number of them that we like a fair bit, even if we think players in the secondary tend to be unstable and overpaid commodities. We just feel that there are potentially some nice options out there, who could provide reasonably good value to us. Plus, it is an area that we have neglected in the past few years, to some degree. Maybe we can fill some of these holes in our fictional roster, while picking up a few other interesting odds and ends.
We'd also like to figure out a few more names to add to our list of considerations for the 2nd round. Based upon the rumors of who is likely to be selected in that range, we weren't excited about many of the prospects. If we can't find someone whom we are comfortable with selecting in that range, it could present us with some problems.
One of the more peculiar situations we might be faced with, is the Joey Bosa question. Since Team Kangaroo will be making its first pick at #6, there is probably a reasonable chance that he will still be available, assuming that we don't trade down. For reasons that might seem a bit peculiar, the possibility of selecting him, or leaving him for someone else, causes us a bit of discomfort. This has possibly led us to over-analyze him a bit, as he probably scares us a bit more than a lot of the other options we might be faced with.
We've already discussed him a fair bit, and picked over his peculiar athletic traits, but he still strikes us as a very odd duck. Let's ignore some of the rumors about his personality and off the field behavior, which are largely lacking concrete evidence, though they make him sound like a bit of a nut. Let's also skip past some of the peculiar issues and concerns about his statistical production, which remind us a bit of the dreaded Vernon Gholston. Our biggest worry is in figuring out the more objective issues of how he might be able to succeed, based on his interesting but somewhat strange athletic traits.
While his combine results suggest that he has rather exceptional agility, and moderately respectable lower body power, the overall picture is a bit weird. While his agility results would suggest that he could thrive when given a bit more space to maneuver around an opposing offensive tackle, as a 3-4 OLB, his numbers didn't suggest that his speed or explosiveness were ideal for this role. His measurable traits suggested that he might not have the sort of exceptional burst to consistently threaten the outside edge on an offensive tackle, where his agility would then become a huge advantage. When we ignore his unweighted explosiveness, and just look at raw lower body power, his results suggested that he was probably a tad bit above average for a 4-3 defensive end, but perhaps not as overwhelmingly gifted as a lot of the players we normally see as the top players at this position. Athletically, he is quite respectable, but really does seem to fit the term "tweener" that is sometimes thrown around. He really strikes us as someone who might belong somewhere between the 4-3 defensive end position, and the 3-4 OLB position, and the number of historical players who are directly comparable to him are a bit strange.
So, we are left with a player who might not have an ideal position fit, who rumors suggest might be a bit a bit of an oddball off the field (you can explore that subject on your own), and whose statistical production was a tad below what we normally associate with top level pass rushers, even in his best college season. Risk, risk, risk. Yet he is almost certainly going to be a top 10 pick, and is probably one of the better options at his position, at least for this year.
While we wouldn't be surprised in the least if he turns out to be a very good player, we probably wouldn't want to bet on him becoming a truly great one. Still, we feel like he probably has a reasonable shot at becoming one of the better pass rushers to come out of this (potentially) relatively weak class. Maybe we should take him, and not feel so concerned about the variety of issues that seem to orbit him. We're really not sure. In the end, we just feel like he might be a bit more of a coin flip than we really like. If we're going to pick someone in the top 10, we would prefer to feel more confident that he is likely to be a home run. With Bosa, we just worry that his ceiling might not be quite high enough to merit such a selection.
Oh well, I guess that is enough rambling for now. We'll continue to mull things over during the next 24 hours, before all of the madness begins, and reconsider some of our idiotic views. If anyone wants to throw in their two cents, they are more than welcome to do so.