Day 2 Winners & Losers: Gase & Joseph Build in Scheme, Depth Concerns On Defense
After a crazy 48 hours, the meatiest part of the 2016 NFL Draft has come and gone. Fan bases around the country are already proclaiming that their respective teams will be lifting the Lombardi Trophy come February. Others are condemning their favorite teams’ General Managers to fates that my editor would never allow me to include in this article.
There is not a draft “expert” alive that can accurately predict a prospect or team’s NFL success even 60% of the time. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t give it a shot anyway.
In this article, I will take you through who I feel gained the most on Friday night and who I believe suffered on Day 2 of the draft.
Winner: Jaylon Smith
I’m happy for Jaylon Smith. I really am. The once top-5 prospect has seen his draft stock continue to plummet since shredding his knee in literally the last game of his college career. Concern about the ability of his knee and the corresponding nerves to heal was very widespread throughout league circles.
After medical rechecks at the combine, and before the draft, his situation looked murky. Some analysts didn’t even think he’d be drafted until Day 3. Luckily for the Notre Dame star, the Dallas Cowboys had faith in him and drafted him early in the 2nd round.
Loser: Myles Jack
Myles Jack’s draft day tumble was the most shocking event in a draft chock-full of unexpected surprises. This man was seen as a top-5 prospect just a week ago, and nobody predicted a fall out of the top-20, let alone the first round altogether. It seems as though reports on potential knee issues were not a smokescreen after all.
In addition to losing out on millions of dollars, Jack seems to have taken his unprecedented fall on draft boards personally. After waiting to hear his name called in Chicago for 4 hours on Thursday night, he was nowhere to be found when the Jacksonville Jaguars finally called his name early in the 2nd round.
Winner: The Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
Myles Jack’s loss is the Jacksonville Jaguars’ gain. After happening upon a top-3 talent in Jalen Ramsey in the first round, they managed to snag another top-5 talent in the 2nd round. In fact, many analysts had Myles Jack going to the Jags with the 5th overall pick. Considering they received perhaps the two most elite defensive talents in the draft, I’d say that the Jaguars are enjoying their best draft haul in recent memory.
In an unprecedented turn of events, the Jags’ defense looks absolutely terrifying on paper. After adding Malik Jackson and Prince Amukamara in free agency, drafting Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack in the draft, and getting last year’s 3rd overall pick Dante Fowler back from injury, I think that the era of ineptitude is officially over in Jacksonville.
Loser: The New England Patriots
The Patriots are not listed here simply because I hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand blazing suns. They are here for 3 legitimate reasons:
- They had no first round pick on account of the deflategate scandal.
- Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games again after deflategate seemed to finally be buried and gone.
- On account of Tom Brady’s suspension, the Patriots were essentially forced to use their already limited resources on a quarterback. Specifically N.C. State’s Jacoby Brissett in the third round.
Winner: Ohio State University
The Ohio State Buckeyes continue to dominate this draft. After having five players selected in the first round, the program saw another five players drafted on Day 2 as well. This incredible feat was actually an NFL record, as no other school has experienced ten players drafted in the first three rounds in NFL history.
After an incredible showing in Day 1, Urban Meyer has got to be proud of what his program accomplished in Day 2.
Loser: Ryan Fitzpatrick
When the New York Jets drafted linebacker Darron Lee over quarterback Paxton Lynch, it seemed as though the biggest winner was Ryan Fitzpatrick. Unfortunately for the veteran, the Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg with their 2nd round pick. While Hackenberg is hardly guaranteed the starting job, this makes Fitzpatrick’s life a bit harder and not to mention his wallet significantly lighter.
Although, I think the team would still be wise to pay the proven veteran instead of risking their season on the polarizing prospect out of Penn State. After all, the last second round quarterback that the Jets drafted did not turn out as expected. If Geno Smith isn’t a cautionary tale, then I don’t know what is.
Winner: Andrew Luck
Ryan Grigson has refused to address the Colts’ offensive line issues over the last several seasons. In the end, the person that suffered the most from the GM’s ineptitude was Andrew Luck. In 2015, the Pro Bowl quarterback suffered from cracked ribs, torn muscles in his shoulder, and a lacerated kidney largely due to a porous offensive line.
Knowing that this was no longer acceptable, Ryan Grigson finally addressed the Colt’s offensive line vacancies with Ryan Kelly, an extremely reliable center out of Alabama. But, the Colts weren’t done just yet. Le’Raven Clark, an offensive tackle out of Texas Tech with a first-second round grade, was still on the board late in the third round. The Colts pulled the trigger, and now Andrew Luck can sleep well knowing that he won’t be pressured on every other play.
Loser: The Miami Dolphins’ Defensive Line
It’s hard for me to call the Dolphins’ defensive line a loser when their starting lineup includes Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams, and Cameron Wake. But, in a draft class oozing with defensive line talent, the team should have made moves to lock down a top-tier talent in the first three rounds.
While the defensive line’s starting lineup is beaming with talent and accolades, the depth leaves much to be desired with Oliver Vernon and Derrick Shelby gone. Cameron Wake is best suited to a rotational role as he makes his way back from a torn Achilles tendon, and Mario Williams is on the wrong side of 30. The team really missed an opportunity to accrue talent at such a critical juncture in the defensive line’s future.
Winner: Alabama Running Backs
The first round of the draft saw the fewest Alabama players drafted in a very long time. But, on the second day of the draft, at least one Crimson Tide unit received a lot of love. Derrick Henry became the second running back drafted, as the Titans just could not pass up on him with the 45th overall pick. 28 picks later, the Miami Dolphins selected Henry’s backup, Kenyan Drake, with the 73rd overall pick. Drake was the third running back to be selected. So, after Ezekiel Elliott, the running backs out of Alabama were the most coveted in the entire draft.
Loser: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Before the 59th pick of the draft, the Bucs looked to be having one of the best draft hauls of any NFL team. In the first round, they traded back and still ended up with the guy that they wanted all along in Vernon Hargreaves. Then, they addressed their pass-rush by drafting Noah Spence early in the second round. However, the Bucs are still the Bucs after all. With the 28th pick of the second round they drafted Robert Aguayo, the kicker out of Florida State. Sure, he’s the most accurate kicker in NCAA history, but he’s still a kicker. A kicker that was only 20-29 (69%) from beyond 50 yards no less. They could have actually drafted an impact skill position player instead of grabbing a luxury that’s only worth a fifth or sixth round kick.
Winner: Vance Joseph
Dolphins fans may not be excited for Xavien Howard, but their defensive coordinator sure is. Howard fits exactly what Vance Joseph wants in a cornerback, as evidenced by the team’s willingness to trade up four picks to secure him. Howard is definitely raw, but with Byron Maxwell manning the one spot, I doubt that he will be asked to do too much in his first year. If there is any coaching staff in the league that can maximize the talent of their players, it’s this one.