By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
Each year about this time the NFL host their annual NFL Draft where they welcome in a host of young talent and hungry players into their league coming from the college ranks. Many of these rookies will see their lives change the moment their names are called. Not only that, but these young men will also provide hope and excitement for many football teams and fans across the country.
In this article, I want to highlight the good and the bad of this recent NFL Draft as I see it. The hope and excitement these guys bring can be seen from many different aspects, though I’d like to touch on how these picks appear from the mind of a long time NFL nerd.
The popularity of the NFL Draft has only been heightened as America is in this current purgatory from the sports world due to this coronavirus pandemic. This helps to explain why this was the most-watched NFL draft in history, by drawing more than 55 million viewers. They can also credit the virtual style format which was very similar to that of a virtual fantasy football draft, for the speed and fluidity of the actual draft process.
The first few picks were fairly predictable in this the NFL Draft, it wasn’t until the 5th pick of the Miami Dolphins where the suspense would begin. Having previously renounced their interest in the often-injured quarterback from Alabama, there was a lot of speculation of who the Dolphins would actually draft. understanding that their pick would impact the following picks in the draft.
Whether the Dolphins effectively manipulated other teams into thinking they weren’t going to pick the highly sought after Tua Tagovailoa. The prospects of the big arm and quick release of Tua was enough for the Dolphins to ignored the injury risk surrounding the former ‘Bama Quarterback, who has suffered a broken left and right ankle, a broken wrist, in addition to a broken hip. Because the Dolphins have been in desperate need of a “franchise” quarterback for decades now, they were eager to take Tua. I personally disagree with this selection of this quarterback for no other reason than the multiple injuries Tua accumulated in the past few years on a great team with superb protection. Since he’s not likely to have that top-notch protection around him at the next level, how he maintains his health will certainly be a concern moving forward.
By the Dolphins taking Tua off the board, the Chargers were forced to make some difficult decisions about their future. With their previous quarterback choosing to leave via free agency at the end of last season, it is imperative that they find their next franchise Quarterback. They’d also have an opportunity to add an impactful defensive player with the #6 pick in this draft and pair him with a couple of transformational talent they already have on their defensive side of the ball.
Ultimately, The Chargers chose to make the 6’ 6” Eugene, Oregon native and Oregon Duck graduate Justin Herbert their quarterback of the future. This 4-year starter for the Ducks threw for the 32 touchdowns as a senior and a career 75.0 quarterback rating. As their quarterback of the future, Herbert will have every opportunity to lead the Chargers to the promised land. It will be interesting to see his development over the next several years and if he can become the leader, they need him to be to make this pick a success.
Clemson’s playmaking Linebacker Isaiah Simmons would’ve been a tremendous addition to the Dolphins or the Chargers. Instead, the Carolina Panthers will use his versatility to replace the future HOF linebacker Luke Kuechley who retired this past offseason.
Coming into the draft it was the Wide Receivers position that was thought of as being the deepest position in the draft. Multiple teams were able to capitalize on the talent available. I’ve listed the team that got the most value with the receivers they picked, With the #12 pick the Las Vegas Raiders drafted the speedy Henry Ruggs from Alabama. The Denver Broncos drafted the 2018 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner Jerry Jeudy at #15. With arguably the best value overall the Dallas Cowboys drafted Oklahoma Sooner Cee Dee Lamb with the 17th pick in the draft. At #22 the Minnesota Vikings drafted LSU Tiger Justin Jefferson.
In surprising fashion, the Green Bay Packers appears to be escorting their Hall of Fame our the door early with by drafting former Utah State Aggie and All-Mountain West quarterback Jordan Love. This pick falls in line with their history of planning for the replacement of their quarterback. Just as they invested a 1st round draft pick on future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers to eventually replaced Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Farve several years ago.
In their attempt to return to prominence as they unveil their new stadium the season, the Los Angeles Rams didn’t have much room for error in this draft, considering they had a limited number of picks going into the draft. with their 1st pick in the 2nd round, they drafted added depth to their running back position when they drafted Cam Akers out of Florida State University. They picked another Florida product when they selected former Florida Gator Wide Receiver Van Jefferson with their second pick of the 2nd round. Continuing the trend, they focused on positions of need with the remainders of their picks, as they edge rusher Terrell Lewis out of Alabama with their first pick in round 3 and they also drafted former Utah Utes Safety Terrekk Burgess later in the 3r round.
Other than drafting players to fit a specific need to fill out their rosters, teams won’t see the production and fruits of their picks until the season begins and these guys get game time action. I’d be interested to hear how you thought the draft went and your team drafted. Kindly share your thoughts on the NFL Draft, the teams’ selections, or the players selected by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport. Additionally, be sure to subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on most podcasting platforms, Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, Thank You for making our voice, your choice!