It’s finally here. After months of preparation and rampant speculation, the NFL Draft is finally here! While everyone else is hard at work pushing out one last mock draft, or spreading more unsubstantiated rumors, now seems like a good time to share some last minute draft thoughts with the Bolts From the Blue readers.
While most of these last minute musings are Chargers related, a few will come from more of a macro view, but I suspect you’ll find all of them worth your time. Let’s get started…
I think the questions about Josh Rosen’s “quirky” personality are both unfair and completely ridiculous. While I don’t know him personally, he comes across as a thoughtful and intelligent kid who is always thinking 2-3 steps ahead which, if you ask me, is exactly what you want in a franchise QB. He’s basically being punished for being smart and recognizing that football doesn’t last forever.
Having said that, Rosen is the most likely of the consensus top four quarterbacks to fall out of the top ten. I think his personality combined with the fact that he’s the least enticing athlete of the four will force him down boards. It’s amazing to me that someone as rough around the edges as Josh Allen will almost certainly be drafted ahead of a polished prospect like Rosen because, for better or worse, Rosen’s world extends beyond the football field.
I don’t see the Giants taking a quarterback with the second pick. Should they? Probably. But I think they hired Pat Shurmur to resurrect Eli Manning and, based on how he reacted to being benched last season, I think they’d lose him entirely if they drafted a quarterback in the first round. I have a feeling they’ll be monitoring Mason Rudolph on the off chance he falls into their lap early in the second round.
At this moment, I have no reason to believe the Chargers’ pick will be anyone other than Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans. While Evans is versatile enough to play any linebacker position in Gus Bradley’s defense, the team will draft him to replace Kyle Emanuel at the OTTO, where he’ll be an instant upgrade thanks to his ability to cover, defend the run and rush the passer.
My “buyer beware” tag goes to the team drafting Marcus Davenport in the first round. His NFL team will be drafting him in a spot befitting a #1 or #2 edge rusher and they’ll be getting a situational rusher facing a steep learning curve. Davenport needs work on his hand technique, his pad level, and developing rush counters – he won’t be able to steamroll NFL tackles like he did in college, which means he’s starting from scratch. Have fun with that one.
Although you could argue they have bigger, more immediately pressing needs at safety and defensive tackle, the second round seems like an obvious place for the Chargers to draft Joe Barksdale’s eventual replacement at right tackle. The talent level falls off in a hurry after the second round and there should be a couple good ones available at 48. I would expect the team to target Tyrell Crosby and Jamarco Jones here, with Crosby probably being my personal favorite.
I’m not buying the Uchenna Nwosu talk in the second round. Why not? For starters, they would presumably be drafting Nwosu to play the OTTO ‘backer position, which is the same position we already have them filling with their first round pick. Not to mention, this team is notoriously tight lipped with their draft plans and I just don’t see them being that specific about a player with 47 picks standing between them and their player. If they’re interested, they see him as a contingency should they not select Evans in the first round.
Speaking of offensive tackles, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Connor Williams and Orlando Brown for very different reasons. I’ll be watching Williams, my OT1, because it seems like he’s probably going to be the third or fourth tackle off the board, which means he will likely tumble into the second round. If that happens, and he clears the top five or six picks, he could be a trade target for the tackle-needy Chargers. As for Orlando Brown, I’m just curious to see how his historically bad combine impacts his draft stock.
Should the Chargers select a linebacker and an offensive tackle in the first two rounds, as outlined above, I think they’ll ultimately double up on linebacker in the third round, but not a traditional linebacker. This strikes me as a good spot for UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who would not only add a playmaker with superb coverage skills to the Chargers sub-packages, but would also be an immediate contributor on special teams and fits the team’s preference for high character players. BYU linebacker Fred Warner would also make sense in this round and in a similar role.
Well folks, my last minute draft musings will have to come to an end for now. But I think we got a lot done for now, having covered Josh Rosen, the Chargers first three picks, a “buyer beware” player, and players who could fall in the first two rounds. Hopefully you enjoyed this; please share your last minute musings in the comments section below…