Hello everyone, and welcome to the second installment of Razzball’s 2016 NFL Draft Preview.
For those of you who read the first installment, picks 1-10, I talked a lot about the two biggest factors that each team will have to ask themselves in the next few weeks until the draft, and even on draft night. “Team needs or individual talent?”
The process is simple. Evaluate the team after the 2015 season, and then evaluate all of the prospects, on the team’s Big Board, to determine the strategy. Will teams select prospects to help the team as a whole at certain positions, or select prospects because they are raw, physical, superb athletes?
Note: This post was written before and during the Philadelphia-Cleveland Trade. Here’s the short and sweet version – Eagles acquire the #2 overall pick, Browns trade back, both teams will acquire picks this year in the later rounds, plus a slew of 2017 first round picks, and Robert Griffin III is a happy man. Sam Bradford is not. In terms of who the Eagles will take, it all depends on who the Rams take. If the Rams select Goff, Wentz will most likely go to Philly, and conversely. I won’t go in-depth, but here’s how I think the rest of the board shakes out, except for the teams who selections I think will stay the same.
Browns – Ezekiel Elliot (If the Browns really do believe in RGII, which they proved/indicated by trading back, then they want opposing D’s to respect all aspects of their offense. D’s can easily put pressure on RGIII with Isaiah Crowell or Duke Johnson in the backfield. If Elliot is the HB for the Browns, it opens up the field for Griffin, but just a little bit.)
Let’s get to picks 11-20…
#11 – Chicago Bears (6-10 Record)
The Bears had a season that didn’t instill confidence in anyone, but it wasn’t the worst. Many injuries occurred on both sides of the ball, and it didn’t help that Matt Forte is no longer returning to Chi-Town. Jay Cutler didn’t look great once again, which now seems as if the Bears will either attack the Quarterback or Wide Receiver positions to either help or replace Jay Cutler.
Team Needs – Defensive End, Wide Receiver, Cornerback
Pick – Emmanuel Ogbah, Defensive End, Oklahoma State
Like the Cowboys back in the first installment, this is a very tough pick. There are so many positions the Bears have to fix to be even considered for a rebound year, and not have the same results as the past few years. Wide Receiver is a pressing issue, and so is their Secondary, however the pass rush for the Bears is definitely an issue, and can be solved with Ogbah. Ogbah’s biggest strength is his speed, as he wowed the NFL-world with a very impressive 4.49 at his Pro Day. However, he is seen as being very inconsistent and it might be too much for the Bears to select him.
Fantasy Impact – Little. I like Ogbah a lot, and he can definitely help with the Rush-D side of things, however the Bears’ Secondary is just awful to the point where it doesn’t matter that Ogbah will be taken, because opposing teams will attack via the air. IDP-only.
#12 – New Orleans Saints (7-9 Record)
Ever since Sean Payton was removed due to “Bounty-Gate”, it has seemed like the Saints haven’t been the same. The 2015 season saw rumors about both Sean Payton and Drew Brees leaving New Orleans, however they are both still here, and will give it one last attempt to try to win the AFC South, or at least make it into the Playoffs.
Team Needs – Defensive End, Guard, Wide Receiver
Pick – Ronnie Stanley, Offensive Tackle/Guard, Notre Dame
Many believe that New Orleans will try to fix the defense left by Rob Ryan in the first round, and maybe again after that, however protecting Drew Brees should be the #1 commitment for the Saints, and even with Max Unger, Stanley should provide to the new O-Line that looks a lot better with Stanley and Unger.
Fantasy Impact – Rarely, if ever, does an Offensive Tackle or Guard have a legitimate fantasy impact, however just like Tunsil’s impact with the Chargers in the first series, you have to respect Brees a bit more. One offensive lineman doesn’t (and shouldn’t) propel Brees over the likes of another Top-Tier QB, however if the Saints attack the Wide Receiver position in the next rounds, or even for the rest of the offseason, Brees could do a bit better with a revitalized O-Line, and a fancy new weapon in Colby Fleener. Sean Payton loves him some Colby Fleener.
#13 – Miami Dolphins (6-10 Record)
The Miami Dolphins, in my opinion, had one of the biggest let-downs in the NFL last year, and it isn’t looking up this year even with the addition of new Head Coach Adam Gase. Tannehill didn’t do as well as he should have, Miami’s defense was one of the biggest busts this year, and what the heck happened to Lamar Miller? One could suggest that their biggest team need to address in the draft or either the offseason could be the Running Back position, but that is the easy solution, without much thinking behind it. Yes, Derrick Henry is still on the board, but was that what the Miami front office expected? Why shut down an absolute stud, even if he could leave in the offseason (Miller is now with Houston) to bet that a HB would go through college without stinking or suffering an injury? It doesn’t make sense. Do they like Jay Ajayi? Maybe, as they did select him, but in the 5th round last year! ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has reported that the Dolphins are trying to trade up for Ezekiel Elliot, and until that is set in stone, I won’t have them drafting a back. Let’s see what other positions they could attack-
Team Needs – Cornerback, Running Back, Defensive Tackle
Pick – Eli Apple, Cornerback Ohio State
This is a chalky and very popular pick if the ‘Fins don’t trade up for Elliot, and it just makes sense. Their secondary is one to improve, as not only did they struggle last year, Miami also lost Brent Grimes. Yes, they did sign a CB over the offseason, however it was Byron Maxwell, one of the worst defensive backs according to Pro Football Focus, and I highly doubt that signing will deter the Dolphins away from Apple. The Dolphins have done their homework on him, and not only does he fit their scheme and playing style, he’s also a very talented player.
Fantasy Impact – None. He’ll be facing Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Gronk, Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett, and Sammy Watkins (based on the matchups) at least twice a year, and that isn’t good for his fantasy impact. There is no doubt he’s a talented player, but his addition doesn’t give me hope for the Dolphins D/ST in fantasy this year.
#14 – Oakland Raiders (7-9 Record)
The Raiders are one of my favorite teams to make it into the playoffs, most likely as a Wild Card. Yes, they do have the 14th overall pick, so not everything is going right, but after 7 games they were looking at a record of 4-3, before they ultimately “collapsed”. However, you cannot deny that with a talented offense that they have, combined with a great coach in Jack Del Rio, and a defense that can be solved in the draft. If they attack correctly, they can improve their defense, or even offense, if they believe it is necessary. The right pick could result in a playoff spot if used correctly. The only downside is the fact that they Raiders have to compete with the talented teams of the AFC West.
Me – “I’m covering the Raiders right now. Any thoughts about their season or how you think they’ll attack the draft?
Stan Son – Reggie McKenzie (Current GM) has done a great job since taking over. It’s been refreshing to see the Raiders have a true draft board, instead of filtering the player pool by speed, Madden-style, and those players always have low awareness. I’m thinking a record of 10-6, with upside, if things break right. As for the draft, I think McKenzie is going to hammer away on defense.
Very well said, and I agree. However I have to ask, what flavor of Kool-Aid do they give you guys in Oakland? Must be some good stuff.
Team Needs – Defensive End, Cornerback, Linebacker
Pick – Shaq Lawson, Defensive End, Clemson
I agree 100% with Mr. Son. With the departure of some key defensive players, plus the suspension of Aldon Smith, the defense is definitely the place to fix at the 14 spot. Like I mentioned earlier, the offense is good, and doesn’t need a top-tier HB or WR, but their defense could use a stud, and that’s where Lawson comes in. I don’t mean to poke holes through Stan’s analysis, but even though Lawson is a very physical end, he’s also very speedy. However that one trait should be a good one, not a bad one. Also, Lawson could also play as a 3-4 Linebacker, something that could only help the Raiders.
Fantasy Impact – Again, very minimal. I don’t doubt that Lawson has sheer talent, noted by the fact that in theory, he’s a top-20 prospect, yet it’s hard to judge his fantasy relevance. He’ll probably be in play in IDP Leagues, as like all of the Rookies, yet Lawson doesn’t make me want to draft the Raiders D/ST in Seasonal Leagues. Not a rip on Lawson, but I would only consider the Raiders D/ST in either DFS or during byes/streaming options.
#15 – Tennessee Titans (3-13 Record)
Well, well, well. We meet again. I originally did a Draft Preview of the first few picks of the 1st round, and I had the Titans, who still held the #1 pick, selecting Jalen Ramsey from FSU. Now we clearly know that the Rams now have the #1 pick, and the Titans now hold the 15th. The Team Needs don’t really change, but due to selection and availability of Cornerbacks, I won’t have them selecting one, instead, I believe the Tennessee front office will have their minds set on protecting Marcus Mariota.
Team Needs – Offensive Tackle, Cornerback, Nose Tackle
Pick – Jack Conklin, Offensive Tackle, Michigan State
The biggest need for the Titans is to protect their Franchise QB (as of Thursday 12:32) as much as possible, and this can be solved with Conklin. He can play at both Left and Right Tackle, so the Titans can use him to their benefit at any spot. There’s not much to know about Conklin, but he is a very talented Tackle, and can immediately help Mariota and Co.
Fantasy Impact – None. Unlike Ronnie Stanley and the Saints, there isn’t much depth to the Titans’ O-Line, so even one addition won’t help Mariota. Also, aside from maybe Demarco Murray, and definitely Dorial Green-Beckham, there aren’t any other Tennessee offensive weapons for me to like Mariota at all in Fantasy, so the addition really helps the Titans in real life, but not for our purposes.
#16 – Detroit Lions (7-9 Record)
The Detroit Lions have just been disappointing. Each year they seem to have a good team on paper, yet they are plagued by injuries, ineffective play, or both. With Calvin Johnson’s retirement, things aren’t looking up either. A 7-9 record can definitely be improved with some strong selections in multiple rounds, but for this round, the Lions need to be nearly perfect on their selection to improve, and try to muster another average year.
Team Needs – Offensive Tackle, Wide Receiver, Defensive Tackle
Pick – Jarran Reed, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
I added the mini section above the actual pick to tell you guys that I believe the Lions will take Reed, but I do not believe they should. Reed is a great prospects, and one of the better Defensive Tackles in the NFL, but there have been numerous reports that Reed can’t get to the passer, and instead, is great at stuffing the run. Fair enough, but isn’t that why you got Haloti Ngata? To stop the run? Yes, Ngata had a mediocre season, but the Lions ranked 19th in the NFL against the run last year, and they don’t need to improve on that with a 1st-rounder, they can attack that and build on it in the later rounds. If a team is ranked dead last, or close to it, then that’s another story. However, the Lions have been linked to Reed, and they will most likely select him. Who do I believe they should draft instead? Stafford needs someone to throw the ball to aside from Golden Tate and Lance Moore. Treadwell could be the man for Stafford and OC Jim Bob Cooter. Treadwell is very impressive after the catch, and is just an all-around ball hog, meaning he may not have the best speed, but he’ll go up and get it, and when he isn’t plucking the ball out of the air, he’s a quality blocker. And who does that sound like to you? Sounds like Calvin Johnson to me.
Fantasy Impact – Reed is a great selection, however like I stated above, he isn’t that great of a pass-rusher, so all of his Fantasy impact is thrown out of the door. Again, his ability to stuff the rush is fantastic, but in real life.
#17 – Atlanta Falcons (8-8 Record)
Remember when the Falcons were 5-0? I barely do! Instead of continuing to win, they didn’t, dropping 8 of their last 11. At least they beat Carolina, which was the only bright spot towards the end of the season for them. Things could be worse for the Dirty Birds, but things could be a whole lot better. Matt Ryan looks okay, Devonta Freeman looked great until he didn’t, and their defense was mediocre at best. But hey, at least Julio Jones is still elite! Right?
Team Needs – Wide Receiver, Linebacker, Safety
Pick – Darron Lee, Outside Linebacker, Ohio State
Fantasy Impact – None. With the great QB’s in the AFC South such as Newton and Brees (combined with Brees’ new fantastic O-Line), it’s tough to see how the Atlanta D/ST could ever be in play, even in Daily or Streaming options. Even in IDP Leagues, I doubt Lee could have a big impact.
Another chalky play. Atlanta’s defense is one to improve, especially their ability to get to the QB. Their only talented Linebacker last year was Brooks Reed, and although they signed Sean Weatherspoon and Courtney Upshaw during the offseason, Lee is too special of a player for the Falcons to pass up.
#18 – Indianapolis Colts (8-8 Record)
Remember when the Colts were going to win the Super Bowl? Well, they had other plans apparently. Their big offseason additions in Andre Johnson and Frank Gore weren’t any special, and it didn’t help that the main QB of the season was Matt Hasselbeck. Also, whenever your highlight of the season was a fake punt, you aren’t doing something right.
Team Needs – Center, Guard, Linebacker
Pick – Ryan Kelly, Center, Alabama
The Colts offense shouldn’t really need much work, and shouldn’t really be attacked on the draft after the Colts spend the 2015 Draft attacking the WR position in the first round, and also spent the 2015 offseason by getting Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. However, Luck (just like Rivers in the first series), found himself on his rear end multiple times last season, and an addition at the Guard spot would be beneficial. Many experts also believe that the Colts could try to fix their pass rush, but protecting Luck should be their #1 priority.
Fantasy Impact – Hard to say. Yes, Luck’s fantasy relevance could increase, but again, he’ll have to face J.J. Watt, (potentially) Joey Bosa, Dante Fowler Jr. twice a year, in addition to his non-conference games. Luck is a great fantasy QB without a doubt, but you shouldn’t be too eager to draft him in your fantasy drafts with the addition of Kelly.
#19 – Buffalo Bills (8-8 Record)
Expectations were high for the Bills coming into the season under Rex Ryan, and issues on the offensive side of the ball was the main reason why the Bills failed to make the playoffs. In addition to the offensive issues, many team veterans failed to step up to the plate for Ryan, leading to their front office giving Ryan one more year to make the playoffs or else
Team Needs – Defensive End, Wide Receiver, Linebacker
Pick – Reggie Ragland, Linebacker Alabama
With the departure of some key names over the years such as Kiko Alonso, Mario Williams, and Nigel Bradham, the defensive front needs to be addressed in with their first few picks. While Ragland isn’t very fast, he impressive many teams with his overall knowledge and his field skills. Not saying that the teams should always draft this way, however Ragland is a very safe option, and should do very well for the Bills in a depleted defensive core.
Fantasy Impact – The Bills D/ST was a superb option in daily, streaming and normal fantasy options, and the addition of Ragland should cement it.
#20 – New York Jets (10-6 Record)
The New York Jets had a fantastic year, but got unlucky down the stretch, and missed the playoffs by one game. They will most likely make the playoffs if they play like they did last year, and if they crush the 20th pick, they could be outright dominant.
Team Needs- Linebacker, Defensive End, Offensive Tackle
Pick- Taylor Decker, Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
Especially with the departure of D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Ryan FitzMagic could use some help, and definitely a clean pocket, while throwing to arguably one of the best WR corps in the AFC, maybe even the NFL. Even though Taylor Decker is not very quick on his feet, he brings a high football IQ and is a fantastic run blocker to help the newest Jet, Matt Forte.
Alright guys, thanks for sticking with me through this second edition of the Razzball NFL Draft Preview. If you want to hear some (very hot) hot takes that aren’t mine, be sure to check out Jay and Tehol’s podcast about the draft, where they talk about everything you should know and will expect come draft night.
Alright kids, go read a book.
You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @ohuhave12.