2016 NFL Draft–Tracking the Comments of Experts

Louis Riddick seems really excited about Ezekiel Elliot:

Have not heard the kind of praise for a RB like I have heard for Ezekiel Elliott as far as his football intelligence. #offthecharts

(3/1/2016)

and

I would be shocked if he is not picked before/by #Cowboys at 4.

(3/1/2016)

and

I get the whole “value” argument surrounding RB’s. But. Many view Elliott as being a special combination of skills and character.

(3/1/2016)

36 Responses to “2016 NFL Draft–Tracking the Comments of Experts”


  1. Mitchell

    I can’t believe I’m engaging this specifically in this conversation, but on the Le Batard show Thursday, Mel Kiper said he doesn’t think any RB should go in the first round. Todd Gurley was an anomaly, and teams should be aware of this.

  2. Reid

    Yeah, I’ve heard Kiper say that before, and I tend to agree. However, two factors need to be considered: 1) is the team really committed to the run game (like the Seahawks); 2) is there a really, really good chance that the RB is going to be great, maybe an all-time great player. Based on Riddick’s comments, Elliot might meet condition #2. I would think the Cowboys would meet condition #1 (as well as some other teams–not necessarily the Chargers, Browns or Titans, though).

  3. don

    I wouldn’t be totally disappointed in Dallas getting Elliot, but definitely the smarter mover would be Buckner or Bosa. I even heard Myles Jack as a possibility, but he’s a LB. I’m guessing he can be an edge rusher and that’s why he’s in the conversation. I’m not sure.

    I’m surprised about the character thing with Elliot. I remember he was complaining about his “touches” in the game Ohio St lost against Michigan St which cost them a chance at going to playoffs. He said something like, “I’m leaving after this year.”

    I thought Elliot was good in college, but I didn’t he looked as good as Gurley did. Gurley seems to have more power and speed. Did Elliot run at the combine? I’m too lazy to look.

  4. Reid

    Don’t know if Elliot ran at the combine. As for Gurley, I don’t get the sense that he has a lot of power. He doesn’t seem like a RB that breaks a lot of tackles. He can break a long one if you give him nice lanes, though.

    Elliot would have to be really, really special for me to want to take him in the top 5. As a point of comparison, I don’t know if I would have chose Gurley in the top 5. Thinking back on the Cowboys, I don’t think they need an all-time great QB, because they’re OL is very good. Now, if Seattle were choosing in the top 5, I think they would need an all-time RB because their OL isn’t very good (and they’d need either someone like Marshawn or Barry Sanders).

  5. Reid

    Louis Riddick on Myles Jack:

    I’m trying to think of the right words to describe Myles Jack’s style of play and I am drawing a blank. The kid is simply so damn gifted.

    When watching a LB defend himself against an OL cut block while not breaking stride makes u rewind the tape 10x, u probably like the player.

    (3/3/2016)

  6. Reid

    Karl Joseph best overall DB in draft..versatile,competitive, run support, blitz, tackle, zone pattern recognition, man skills, ball skills.

    Louis Riddick 3/14/2016

  7. Reid

    Mike Mayock claims that Jared Goff and Carson Wentz could be just as good, if not better than Mariota and Winston. Daniel Jeremiah disagreed slightly saying that he thinks Winston and Mariota are a bit better, having a higher ceiling. I sort of trust Mayock (not to say I distruct Jeremiah), and if what he’s saying is true–especially if one of them is like Mariota (who I’m high on)–I think Browns (definitely), Chargers and Cowboys should really consider getting them.

    Addendum: Mayock says that Wentz’s ceiling is Andrew Luck, but his floor could be lower. The risk with him is that he didn’t face really good defenses (not sure how many years he played as well). Those aren’t insignificant red flags for me. Maybe getting a QB later–one that could be really good if they sit for a while–would be better (for the Cowboys and Chargers).

  8. Reid

    Brian Baldinger thinks that Ezekiel Elliot is the best player in the draft.

  9. Reid

    Greg Cosell on Jared Goff:

    “My initial study of Goff tells me that I think (Goff is) a more natural and better overall thrower than (Titans QB Marcus) Mariota. I think he’s a better prospect than Jameis Winston,” Cosell told WGFX-FM in Nashville, Tennessee. “Where he goes? I can’t answer that, but from studying it preliminarily, that’s how I see it with Jared Goff.”

    Then again, Cosell wasn’t super high on Winston. He actually preferred Mettenberger over Winston. (Actually, I’m not completely sold on him, either.)

    “Winston had a very nice rookie season and it looks like he’ll be a solid player. How good? No one can answer that at this moment,” Cosell said. “I’m just comparing Goff, and again, I haven’t done as much work on Goff as I did on Winston when I was done with the process last year, but that’s the basis of my comparison.”

    Based on what I’ve heard of Goff, I’d take him (if not for the hand size question).

    Also, regarding Karl Joseph, Mike Mayock really likes him–calling him a poor man’s Earl Thomas (and Mayock really loved Thomas when he was evaluating him for the draft). If that assessment is true, I hope the Raiders can get him!

  10. don

    Knowing what you know now, if you had to draft between Mariota and Winston you would definitely take Mariota? I think I would lean towards Winston after year one. I think Mariota may be fragile too.

  11. Reid

    I would definitely take Mariota–I think he’ll improve in terms of understanding and reading defenses and throwing the long ball outside the numbers. Mariota has shown flashes of greatness in my view.

    With Winston, I feel like the ceiling is a lot lower. In terms of arm talent and athleticism, he’s not that impressive to me–not if we’re comparing him to the best QBs in the league. At best, I’m thinking he’s could be like Eli, and he may not be as good. (To me, he doesn’t really move well–he’s feet are plodding and clunky. Mariota actually doesn’t seem to have really light feet in the pocket, but he’s hardly had to develop those skills, whereas Winston has played in a pro-style offense. Mariota seems to have developed way faster than people expected; also, he looks great throwing the all when he rolls out of the pocket.)

    As for Mariota being fragile, that’s a concern, but right now, that wouldn’t prevent me from choosing him over Winston.

  12. Mitchell

    I heard Greg Cosell talking about the draft on the Bill Simmons podcast a couple of weeks ago, and it was actually interesting. I like him. Good sense of humor and quick enough to keep up with Simmons.

  13. Reid

    I like Cosell, too. He watches a lot of tape, and he seems fairly insightful.

  14. Reid

    Heard Louis Riddick today on ESPN’s NFL Insiders. Riddick is issuing warnings on Jalen Ramsay. Riddick picked five of the best DBs and Ramsay came in 3rd (which is still high), but he said that Ramsay lacks technique and will have trouble guarding good route runners in the NFL. In other words, it’ll take some time before he’s really good. Also: Riddick said that people shouldn’t think of him as another Deion. He’s far from that, at this point.

    He had Karl Joseph as his #1 DB. (Riddick mentioned that Joseph’s measurables isn’t stellar, though. Joseph is listed at 5′ 9″ and 200+.) William Jackson III was his second pick (said he was the best cover CB in the draft).

  15. Reid

    Charlie Casserly calls Jalen Ramsay better prospect, as a press corner, than Patrick Peterson. Casserly says that Ramsey is a top 5 pick.

  16. Don

    As the draft draws nearer, my heart is sort of leaning to Ramsay over Bosa for the Cowboys. I think Bosa fills a bigger need, but I remember football guys saying that all great defenses have at least one great safety, and I’m hearing Ramsay could make a great safety. Yes he is supposed to be a decent cover guy, but if they can play him at safety and he and Byron Jones is as good as advertised, they could be another Chancellor and Thomas taking care of the middle of the field.

  17. Reid

    What Riddick says about Ramsay is that he’ll have to improve on technique, if that’s true, I tend to think he’ll take some time to get good, which makes me lean away from him–at least this high in the draft.

    Bosa, I haven’t heard much. Is he slam dunk, or are there questions?

    I still say QB from the Cowboys. Also, the ESPN experts don’t seem to think the Chargers should get a QB. I think they should as well, unless they’re really not high on any of the top QBs. (Maybe they think they can get a good project in the second round? That would make sense.)

  18. don

    I would think the question marks (ie: technique) about Ramsay would be more pronounced if a team was to play him at corner. I think the Cowboys should (and would) pick him up to play safety with Scandrick and Claiborne coming back next year.

    Bosa seems to have “some” character issues. The question marks with him seem to be off-the-field. I don’t think it’s serious, but if he has question marks those are it.

    I doubt Wentz will be there at four for the Cowboys, but if he was, I could see them picking him. Well I’m not saying they would, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to see them making that pick. Goff doesn’t seem as high on their radar, but of course who knows for sure.

  19. Reid

    Is Ramsay a safety? I got the impression that he was a CB. This is based on my recollection of Casserly’s comments. It sounded like some are projecting Ramsay as a safety. Did he play safety in college?

    I vaguely recall hearing character issues about Bosa, but I didn’t get the sense they were a huge deal. And yet, I feel like I’m not hearing as much about him. The vibe I get is that more people are talking about the QBs.

  20. don

    The Rams are all in for Wentz. I hope he’s worth it. This is great news for Mariota to me. I know I said in another post not to trade with the Rams, but the Rams gave them the farm for this pick. This might not be great news for the Cowboys because with Wentz off the board, who knows what Cleveland will do. This may take Bosa and Ramsay off the board before the Cowboys pick. I wonder if the Cowboys want Buckner or Jack or Tunsil? I think they cannot go wrong with any of those guys, but I would prefer Ramsay or Bosa. That being said I read that Dallas pundits don’t think Ramsay is a pick that Dallas wants. But as with any draft information, who knows.

  21. don

    Oh forgot to say that Ramsay are being looked to as either a safety or corner because he’s big enough. Dallas pundits don’t think a number four pick is “safety-worthy”, which is why they think Dallas wouldn’t pick Ramsay and if they do would play him at corner.

  22. Mitchell

    Any thoughts on the Rams-Titans trade?

    Paul DePodesta signing with the Browns really has me wondering why a Moneyball approach hasn’t apparently been put in place in the NFL. I know every team has at least one advanced metrics guy, but what about the over-valued/under-valued view of roster construction and cap management? I haven’t heard much about that.

    We’ve been saying for the past couple of years that you need a good-to-great QB to win in the NFL, especially with the way the rules have morphed to give passing a huge advantage. Yet the Broncos won the Super Bowl with one of the worst (performance-wise) QBs in the game. I’m no expert on QB performance, and I suppose Peyton could have won games this year just because of his supreme knowledge of the game and uncanny adjust-at-the-line skill, but what if you could effectively get some similar game-management performance at whatever the market currently values it? What I’m asking is, if a Peyton-like QB were paid at mediocre QB salary, wouldn’t you be able to spend more on other high-impact, high-quality players? IF so, why hasn’t this worked?

    It makes me suggest that NFL coaches who don’t have top-tier QBs aren’t really applying necessary sensibilities. As Billy Beane has stressed, it isn’t that the Athletics didn’t want Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Barry Zito anymore; it’s that they couldn’t afford to pay them what the market dictated. Yet the Athletics have had more than their fair share of success (depending on how you define that; there haven’t been any World Series appearances since 1990) exploiting vulnerabilities in the market.

    This sounds like a conversation for Marc, darn it. I need a numbers guy.

  23. don

    Sabermetrics in baseball is much more impactful than football because of the disparity of the have and the have-nots, whereas in football everyone is supposed to be on a level playing field. However, as your example stated there are times where maybe advance metrics could help an NFL team.

    As you implied with the Athletics example though, they are more successful using advance metrics than they should be based on them being the have-nots. But I doubt they have been in the top five in wins since they started Saber would be my guess. But in the NFL with a more level playing field in terms of access to money spent, a successful advance metrics team would always be near the top in wins no?

    Do you think the Browns will become more successful in the next few years? What if the reason they got RGIII was as you stated to build around something other than a highly paid QB.

  24. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Paul DePodesta signing with the Browns really has me wondering why a Moneyball approach hasn’t apparently been put in place in the NFL. I know every team has at least one advanced metrics guy, but what about the over-valued/under-valued view of roster construction and cap management? I haven’t heard much about that.

    One question I would raise: how much can advanced metrics really tell us about players? Performance in football seems very dependent on other factors, including the performance of teammates and opponents.

    To give you an example, I really think the quality of the teams last year was fairly low. If this is true, wouldn’t this skew the metrics in a way that was potentially misleading?

    What I’m asking is, if a Peyton-like QB were paid at mediocre QB salary, wouldn’t you be able to spend more on other high-impact, high-quality players? IF so, why hasn’t this worked?

    I think you could spend more. However, I suspect you wouldn’t be able to spend enough. In other words, I suspect a team would need to draft well. The Broncos’ ability to draft players was a big part of their success (at least on defense–players like )

    You can win with a mediocre QB but you better have a really great defense. And I think that’s very difficult to achieve. Even if you didn’t spend a lot of money on a QB, I don’t think you could buy a great defense. A team would still have to draft and develop players well. I think this was the case with the Broncos last year; players like Brandon Marshall, Derrick Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Demaryius Thomas, etc. Could something like sabermetrics help improve the ability to draft players? I tend to think that’s not the case, otherwise other teams would have done this.

    I also would mention the quality of the league overall once again. I don’t know if this year was typical or atypical, but if it’s aytpical (i.e., the quality is lower than normal), then Denver’s approach might not be a great way to go about winning a Super Bowl.

    To be clear, I don’t think you need a great QB to win a Super Bowl. But you need one who will protect the ball and make a few plays in crucial moments. You could win with a QB who didn’t meet that criteria, but you better have an incredible defense. And even then, I’d say you’re chances were slim.

    What are the details of the Rams-Titans trade?

  25. Reid

    The Trade

    Tennessee gets:

    2016: Rams’ first-round pick, 2 second round picks and 1 third round pick;

    2017: Rams’ first-round pick and another third-round pick.

    Rams get:

    2016: Titans’ first-overall pick, 1 fourth round pick and 1 sixth round pick.

    I really like the trade for the Titans. Generally, if you have a franchise QB, this is the type of trade that you’d want–especially if you still need a lot of good players, and I would say the Titans are in that position.

    But this move could be good for the Rams–if the QB they pick turns out to be a franchise QB. For example, if the QB is another Luck or even Mariota–I think this trade would be worth it. And if they don’t pick a QB, the player better be a Hall of Fame caliber type of player.

  26. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Here’s an article that claims nfl teams already use the moneyball approach. I think you’ll like the article.

  27. don

    Cleveland’s trade out of number 2 solidifies a non-QB pick for the Cowboys as it looks like in back-to-back years a QB will go one and two. I think Tunsil should still be number three, which would give the Cowboys the first choice at a defensive player.

  28. Reid

    I’m guessing the Chargers, Cowboys and Niners just didn’t really think highly enough of the QB prospects, or didn’t think the difference in risk and potential with some of the other QBs weren’t that big. Or, they just didn’t think they should have made a move for a QB this year. I’d agree with not going for a QB if the conditions above were true. (Another option is that they believe a really great player is at another position.)

    Don, does Bosa’s off-field issues involve drugs? If so, would you really still want him? I just heard that Demarcus Lawrence is facing a 4 game suspension because of failing substance abuse. In my view, I think the Cowboys need to send a stronger message about off-field issues like this.

    Anyway, here’s the breakdown of the Browns-Eagles trade:

    Browns
    2016: Eagles 1st, 3rd and 4th round picks
    2017: Eagles 1st
    2018: Eagles 2nd round

    Eagles
    2016: Browns 1st round
    2017: Browns 4th round

    If the Browns didn’t feel confident enough in the QBs, then this seems like a good deal for the Browns, although it would be tragic and sad if the #2 turns out to be a great QB. (If they’re doing this because they’re super confident in RGIII, I think that’s a questionable reason.)

    Like the Rams, I’m assuming the Eagles feel really, really confident in either of the QBs. If not, I don’t really like the move.

    The more I think about, the more I would be really wary of Wentz, maybe Goff, too. I think Wentz has only started for a year and half–and in a small conference. That seems awful sketchy.

    I like the way Goff moves in the pocket, but he played in mostly a spread offense, I think, and I heard that his teams only beat teams they were supposed to. This might not be an issue if his supporting cast was weak, though. Eagles and Rams just better be really, really confident.

  29. don

    There was a theory is that Cleveland is going to try and get QB Deshaun Watson from Clemson in next year’s draft if RGIII doesn’t work out. Pundits say there is no question that Cleveland is the worst team in the league right now, so getting the number one pick next year isn’t out of the question. That’s why they signed RGIII to a reasonable contract, see how it plays out and if he fails, their back up plan is to try and get Deshaun Watson next year, which almost unanimously is the first guy going next draft.

  30. Reid

    Well, if Watson is a great prospect, than the moves make a little more sense (especially letting go so of the players they had–e.g., Alex Mack, Travis Benjamin, etc.). If Watson is as good as Luck, it could be that the Browns are pulling another “suck for Luck” approach.

    Addendum: Cleveland has a total of 12 picks in 2016. That’s a lot, and it puts them in a great position to move up and down the board. If Watson is great, then they can really try a best player available approach–maybe even move up the draft to get a really great player(at any position).

  31. don

    You just ignored the “if the RGIII doesn’t work out” part.

  32. Reid

    I guess, I’m not really expecting that. Well, if Hue installs an offense similar to Shanahan’s, and RGIII has the write attitude and work-ethic, I think he could be good. So, I guess I shouldn’t completely write off the possibility.

  33. don

    I was 99% joking anyway. I don’t have confidence in RGIII as well.

  34. Reid

    Ah, got it.

  35. Reid

    Another expert, Gil Brandt, seems to think highly of William Jackson III. Brandt listed him as a player under the radar that could be a pro bowl player. Here’s what he said:

    Running a 4.37 40 at 6-foot and 189 pounds, Jackson has good size-speed ratio. Very productive player; had five interceptions and an FBS-best 23 pass breakups. Doesn’t get a lot of publicity, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he was taken in the middle of the first round.

  36. Mitchell

    Interesting piece in the WSJ about how not to be burned in the draft. I like the loose numbers approach, but don’t like “number of Pro Bowls” as an indicator of a good pick.

    1. Make more trades (teams that acquire higher draft picks through trades tend to do better with those picks than teams who just pick in that assigned spot)
    2. Target younger players (juniors do better than seniors)
    3. Follow recruiting rankings
    4. Don’t overlook small schools
    5. Don’t draft late-round QBs

    Numbers 2 and 3 seem self-evident. Juniors entering the draft are the better players with higher upside, almost always. And recruiting rankings are sort of the same. To be an elite high-school recruit, you’re pretty much talking about almost a sure path to the NFL; it’s sort of like drafting juniors. More upside.

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