2016 NFL Draft: What Happened?

Jared GoffThe NFL Draft is an imperfect science as scouts and GMs spend months looking for players that can have an impact for a long time on their team.

The majority of the players drafted will never have an impact despite all of the scouting and the debate.

Teams are constantly looking at everything from injuries to off-field issues to find the right person and they can make a massive difference.

It may not have been more apparent than this year’s draft though when three of the best talents in the draft plummeted down the draft.

Some were predictable as a few players came into the draft with some serious medical issues that led to their fall.

Jaylon Smith won the Dick Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the NCAA and heading into the Fiesta Bowl many wondered if he was headed to the NFL. During that game, he hyper-extended his knee and forcing him to get surgery but despite the injury, he declared for the draft.

Somewhat surprisingly the Dallas Cowboys took a chance and drafted Smith with the 34th overall pick.

It was risky as Smith may not play in 2016 and there is a small chance that he may not play again if the nerves in his knee don’t recover.

The Cowboys weren’t the only team that took a chance on an injured linebacker though as the Jacksonville Jaguars took a flyer only a few picks later.

Myles Jack entered this year’s draft as the best linebacker available and possibly the best defensive player available.

Then he admitted just before the draft that a nagging knee injury might be worse than many thought.

When the UCLA linebacker admitted that he might require micro-fracture surgery teams began panicking.

That to go along with mixed reports that his knee was fine and that his knee was a ticking time bomb dropped one of the best players in the draft to the second round.

The Jaguars took him with the 36th overall pick but injury concerns had claimed another victim.

The good news is that if either of these players can recover from their knee problems, Jack learned later that surgery was not required, their respective teams just picked two of the best defensive players in this draft and won’t have to pay them the salary that they would have had to had they been healthy.

As interesting as it was with these injuries there was nothing stranger on the day than the saga of Laremy Tunsil.

The Ole Miss tackle was considered the top pick in the draft before the trades happened. Then minutes before the draft Tunsil’s twitter account tweeted out a video of him using a bong attached to a gas mask to smoke weed.

That one video launched more panic in draft rooms as all of a sudden Tunsil went from a sure top pick to a liability.football-sidebar

As innocent as it might be, marijuana is legal in a number of US states, the fact was teams didn’t want to touch someone that had to explain his actions before he played a down of NFL football.

The NFL is always vigilant on their image and anything that is not entirely wholesome, like gambling or drug use, scares most teams.

Tunsil, whose account was apparently hacked, began falling down the draft with some teams removing him from their draft board entirely.

The Miami Dolphins eventually took him at the thirteenth pick and during his introductory press conference was asked questions about another post this time on his Instagram that seemed to expose his coach paying for his mother’s rent, a violation of NCAA rules.

It was a strange fall and one that made little sense when you consider the first pick of the 2015 draft was a player who was caught stealing, accused of sexual assault, and punished for shouting an insensitive phrase on campus.

The fact that the Buccaneers were willing to take a chance on Jameis Winston and no team seemed interested in taking a young player who smoked weed seems strange.

The fact is though that teams are concerned about optics at all times and how it looked was the reason Tunsil fell.

The fact that it happened right before the draft as opposed to Winston who had months between his issues and the draft.

Teams are hoping to find a player that can play right away and not be a distraction to the team.

When these the draft began there were questions about all of those things for these three players.

It was the perfect expression of how imperfect the draft can be as every team now looks at their crop of new players and hopes to have found a Super Bowl winning group.


Tennessee Titans

8. Jack Conklin, OT (MSU) 33. Kevin Dodd, DE (Clem)
43. Austin Johnson, NT (PSU) 45. Derrick Henry, RB (Ala)
64. Kevin Byard, S (MTS) 140. Tajae Sharpe, WR (Mass)
157. LeShaun Sims, CB (S. Utah) 193. Sebastian Tretola, G (Ark)
222. Aaron Wallace, OLB (UCLA) 253. Kalan Reed, CB (S. Miss)
They found their biggest need right away in Conklin but time will tell if they really picked the right tackle or they missed on a better talent. After that they took some solid prospects in Dodd and Johnson while Henry was a great pick although one that didn’t seem all that necessary with the addition of DeMarco Murray earlier this year.

Cleveland Browns

15. Corey Coleman, WR (Bay) 32. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE (OK St.)
65. Carl Nassib, DE (PSU) 76. Shon Coleman, OT (Aub)
93. Cody Kessler, QB (USC) 99. Jos Schobert, OLB (Wisc)
114. Ricardo Louis, WR (Aub) 129. Derrick Kindred, FS (TCU)
138. Seth Devalve, TE (Prin) 154. Jordan Payton, WR (UCLA)
168. Spencer Drango, G (Bay) 172. Rashard Higgins, WR (CSU)
173. Trey Caldwell, DB (Lou-Mon) 250. Scooby Wright III, LB (Ari)
It is hard to screw up a draft with 14 picks on the day and they started out well picking one of the top receivers to fill a group that has very little. Ogbah and Nassib are big additions on the line while Kessler is a great pick as he has time to develop behind RGIII and could be a great starter in the future as the Browns have a ways to go but this draft could be the start of something.

San Diego Chargers

3. Joey Bosa, DE (OSU) 35. Hunter Henry, TE (Ark)
66. Max Tuerk, C (USC) 102. Joshua Perry, LB (OSU)
175. Jatavis Brown, OLB (Akron) 179. Drew Kaser, P (TA&M)
198. Derek Watt, FB (Wisc) 224. Donavon Clark, G (MSU)
Bosa is the clear highlight of this draft as the Chargers waited and picked the man many considered to be the best defensive player in the draft. The rest of the way the Chargers didn’t really look at their biggest needs taking some risky picks and getting depth like with Henry who will become the heir apparent to an aging Antonio Gates.

Dallas Cowboys

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (OSU) 34. Jaylon Smith, LB (ND)
67. Maliek Collins, DT (Neb) 101. Charles Tapper, DE (OU)
135. Dak Prescott, QB (TCU) 189. Anthony Brown, CB (PU)
212. Kavon Fraser, SS (CMU) 216. Darius Jackson, RB (EMU)
217. Rico Gathers, TE (Bay)  
It seems like a typical Cowboys draft as they took some risks that, if they pay off, will make Jerry Jones and his team look like geniuses. Running back was certainly not a need but Elliott makes their backfield very dangerous while Jaylon Smith could be a franchise player if healthy. Taking Prescott also gives them an option down the road as the Cowboys may have been great or wasted a draft.

Jacksonville Jaguars

5. Jalen Ramsey, CB (FSU) 36. Myles Jack, LB (UCLA)
69. Yannick Ngakoue, DE (Mar) 103. Sheldon Day, DT (ND)
181. Tyrone Holmes, OLB (Mon) 201. Brandon Allen, QB (Ark)
226. J. Woodward, DE (C.Ark)  
It’s hard to be angry at a draft that takes two of the best defensive players in the draft and with the realization that surgery won’t be required for Jack the Jags stole this draft. They went after their biggest need in defence and took some very good talent in those two picks and Day as this could be the draft they look back on as a franchise changer.

Baltimore Ravens

6. Ronnie Stanley, OT (ND) 42. Kamalei Correa, DE (BSU)
70. Bronson Kaufusi, DE (BYU) 104. Tavon Young, CB (Tem)
107. Chris Moore, WR (Cin) 130. Alex Lewis, OT (Neb)
132. Willie Henry, DT (MU) 134. Kenneth Dixon, RB (LTU)
146. Matt Judon, DE (GVSU) 182. Kennan Reynolds, WR (Navy)
209. Maurice Canady,CB (VU)  
They really did nothing special in this draft but at the same time they didn’t make any mistakes either. Passing on Tunsil will be interesting to wonder about but Stanley is a solid lineman that they need while the more interesting pick was Reynolds who won’t be there for a while after serving in the Navy but is a great athlete as the Ravens simply had another solid draft.

San Francisco 49ers

7. DeForest Buckner, DE (OR) 28. Joshua Garnett, G (Stan)
68. Will Redmond, CB (Miss St) 133. Rashard Robinson, CB (LSU)
142. Ronald Blair, DE (App St.) 145. John Theus, OT (UGA)
174. Fahn Cooper, OT (Miss) 207. Jeff Driskel, QB (LTU)
211. Kelvin Taylor, RB (UF) 213. Aaron Burbridge, WR (MSU)
249. P.C. Iworah, CB (WKU)  
A lot of concentration on the defence should pay off for the Niners who were at their best with a good defence. Buckner could be the best defensive lineman in the draft and San Francisco was happy when he fell to them while the addition of Redmond and Robinson fill some big needs and Garnett provides a great blocker although he might not fit into the system as the Niners did well.

Miami Dolphins

13. Laremy Tunsil, OT (Miss) 38. Xavien Howard, CB (Bay)
73. Kenyan Drake, RB (Ala) 86. Leonte Carroo, WR (RU)
186. Jakeem Grant, WR (TTU) 204. Jordan Lucas, SS (PSU)
223. Brandon Doughty, QB (WKU) 231. Thomas Duarte, TE (UCLA)
Tunsil is simply a steal despite the issues before the draft as the Dolphins landed the best lineman in the draft with the thirteenth pick. Along Howard and Drake who both will likely see time this season the Dolphins found a good haul of players in a day that couldn’t have gotten much better when they landed a starting left tackle.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11. Vernon Hargreaves, CB (UF) 39. Noah Spence, DE (EKU)
59. Roberto Aguayo, K (FSU) 108. Ryan Smith, CB (NCCU)
148. Caleb Benenoch, OT (UCLA) 183. Devante Bond, OLB (OU)
197. Dan Vitale, FB (NU)  
They restocked their defence in two very important positions as Hargreaves and Spence could start right away and could make a big difference for this team. The interesting pick was when they moved up for a second pick in the second round to take Aguayo which seems strange until you realize he was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history as the Bucs did a good job this year.

New York Giants

10. Eli Apple, CB (OSU) 40. Sterling Shepard, WR (OU)
71. Darian Thompson, S (BSU) 109. B.J. Goodson, OLB (Clem)
149. Paul Perkins, RB (UCLA) 184. Jerell Adams, TE (SCU)
They went after a need immediately and got a great defensive back in Apple while Shepard is a younger version of Cruz and was a bit of a steal in the second round. The rest of the draft added a number of players that could see time this year like Goodson and Perkins in a draft that provides plenty of return for only six picks.

Chicago Bears

11. Leonard Floyd, OLB (UGA) 56. Cody Whitehair, G (KSU)
72. Jonathan Bullard, DT (UF) 113. Nick Kwiatkoski, LB (WVU)
124. Deon Bush, S (Mia) 127. Deiondre’ Hall, CB (UNI)
150. Jordan Howard, RB (IU) 185. D. Houston-Carson, FS (W&M)
230. Daniel Braverman, WR (WMU)  
Depending on how Floyd turns out in this season the Bears may look like a very smart team but if he doesn’t work out the draft might be a bust. The rest of the picks provide some good depth with Whitehair may play immediately as the Bears did a good job of focusing on some needs but might not have drafted anyone that could change this team.

New Orleans Saints

12. Sheldon Rankins, DT (UL) 47. Michael Thomas, WR (OSU)
61. Vonn Bell, FS (OSU) 110. David Onyemata, DT (MU)
237. Daniel Lasco, RB (Cal)  
Rankins is the clear highlight of this draft as he is sure to immediately upgrade a bad defence as the Saints focused on their biggest issue. Bell is another good addition in that respect while Onyemata has a ton of raw talent but he is just that, raw, and needs a lot of work. Thomas is a great pick that will give Brees a new target as the Saints had a good few days picking what they needed.

Philadelphia Eagles

2. Carson Wentz, QB (NDSU) 79. Isaac Seumalo, G (OR St)
153. Wendell Smallwood, RB (WVU) 164. H. Vaitai, OT (TCU)
196. Blake Countess, CB (Aub) 233. Jalen Mills, FS (LSU)
240. Alex McCalister, DE (UF) 251. Joe Walker, LB (OR)
There are plenty of good players in this draft for the eagles but there is only one that will make or break this year’s draft. After trading away future drafts the Eagles took Carson Wentz and he will determine how well they did the only problem is that he isn’t ready yet and if they rush him due to pressure they might see this draft as a massive failure.

Oakland Raiders

14. Karl Joseph, S (WVU) 44. Jihad Ward, DE (Ill)
75. Shilique Calhoun, DE (MSU) 100. Connor Cook, QB (MSU)
143. D. Washington, RB (TTU) 194. Cory James, OLB (CSU)
234. Vadal Alexander, G (LSU)  
With an offence reaching a new level this draft was about the other side as the Raiders took Joseph, Ward, and Calhoun who will all immediately improve their defence. The stranger pick is Cook who won’t be seeing time soon but could serve as a good and cheap back-up for Raiders who used an extra sixth round pick to get the QB.

Los Angeles Rams

1. Jared Goff, QB (Cal) 110. Tyler Higbee, TE (WKU)
117. Pharoh Cooper, WR (SCU) 177. T. Hemingway, TE (SCSU)
190. Josh Forrest, LB (UK) 206. Mike Thomas, WR (S. Miss)
Just like the Eagles this draft will all depend on the success of their top pick after trading away a number of picks to get the top choice in this draft. If Goff is the solution to the QB issues that the Rams have endured this draft is a massive success but if not they failed in a big way as the move to get the California QB will determine everything for the team.

Detroit Lions

16. Taylor Decker, OT (OSU) 46. A’Shawn Robinson, DT (Ala)
95. Graham Glasgow, C (UM) 111. Miles Killebrew, SS (S. UT)
151. Joe Dahl, G (WSU) 169. Antwione Williams, LB (GSU)
191. Jake Rudock, QB (UM) 202. Anthony Zettel, DT (PSU)
The Lions got their man in Decker in the first round to protect their biggest investment in Matthew Stafford but the later rounds is where they surprised. After years of dominating on the line the Lions have struggled there and having Robinson fall to them in the second round is a massive get for the Lions who immediately upgraded their defensive line for a good draft.

Atlanta Falcons

17. Keanu Neal, SS (UF) 50. Deion Jones, OLB (LSU)
81. Austin Hooper, T (Stan) 115. D. Campbell, OLB (Minn)
195. Wes Schweitzer, G (SJSU) 238. Devin Fuller, WR (UCLA)
Overall this draft for the Falcons wasn’t the best and wasn’t the worst as they seemed to pick the guys they liked and take them whenever they had a pick. Neal and Jones might have been able to be drafted later while their biggest need at defensive line was ignored entirely as the draft could produce great players but maybe not the players they needed.

Indianapolis Colts

18. Ryan Kelly, C (Ala) 57. T.J. Green, FS (Clem)
82. Le’Raven Clark, OT (TTU) 116. Hassan Ridgeway, DT (UT)
125. Antonio Morrison, LB (UF) 155. Joe Haeg, OT (NDSU)
239. Trevor Bates, LB (Maine) 248. Austin Blythe, C (Iowa)
There is a clear path to success for the Colts and that is protecting Andrew Luck so they went after improving that aspect of the game. Kelly, Clark, Haeg, and Blythe all do that as the offensive line immediately got an upgrade while they also added some good defensive talent for a good overall draft despite the lack of a superstar pick.

Buffalo Bills

19. Shaq Lawson, DE (Clem) 41. Reggie Ragland, LB (Ala)
80. Adolphus Washington, DT (OSU) 139. Cardale Jones, QB (OSU)
156. Jonathan Williams, RB (Ark) 192. Kolby Listenbee, WR (TCU)
218. Kevon Seymour, CB (USC)  
It seems impossible for Rex Ryan to pass up on defensive talent in order to go after offensive needs and it once again came through this year. Lawson and Ragland are great players and fill needs but the Bills didn’t go after any offence until the later rounds where they drafted project like Jones, Williams and Listenbee that won’t help any time soon as it could have been better but wasn’t a failure.

New York Jets

20. Darron Lee, OLB (OSU) 51. Christian Hackenberg, QB (PSU)
83. Jordan Jenkins, OLB (UGA) 118. Justin Burris, CB (NCSU)
158. Brandon Shell, OT (SCU) 235. Lac Edwards, P (SHSU)
241. Charone Peake, WR (Clem)  
Take all of the picks together and it was a good draft for the Jets who added a great linebacker in Lee and helped out their depth on defence. What changes it though is the second round pick of Hackenberg who is not a second round talent as the inaccuracy he was plagued with could make it a wasted pick and keep the Jets without a true franchise QB for longer than they wanted.

Washington Redskins

22. Josh Doctson, WR (TCU) 53. Su’a Cravens, OLB (USC)
84. Kendall Fuller, CB (VTU) 152. Matthew Ioannidis, DT (Tem)
187. Nate Sudfeld, QB (Ind) 232. Steven Daniels, LB (BC)
242. Keith Marshall, RB (UGA)  
Doctson doesn’t necessarily fill a need but it is hard to pass up on a big receiver that will give Cousins a great weapon on offence. The rest of their draft concentrated on the needs and Washington was able to get players like Cravens and Ioannidis that will change this defence although taking a big defensive player immediately could have done more.

Houston Texans

21. Will Fuller, WR (ND) 50. Nick Martin, G (ND)
85. Braxton Miller, WR (OSU) 119. Tyler Ervin, RB (SJSU)
159. K.J. Dillon, S (WVU) 166. D.J. Reader, NT (Clem)
It was an interesting draft for the Texans who clearly were looking to help new QB Brock Osweiller in his first year with the team. Fuller adds a ton of speed and although his hands have been questioned he was the clutch receiver for Notre Dame. Martin provides a solid lineman that will start right away and Miller gives the Texans another weapon as they improved what they needed to this year.

Minnesota Vikings

23. Laquon Treadwell, WR (Miss) 54. Mackensie Alexander, CB (Clem)
121. Willie Beavers, OT (WMU) 160. Kentrell Brothers, OLB (Mizz)
180. Moritz Boehringer, WR 188. David Morgan, TE (UT-SA)
227. S. Weatherly, OLB (Vand) 244. Jayron Kearse, S (Clem)
The Vikings made waves when they drafted the first straight from Europe player in Boehringer but the draft is far better than that. Treadwell is the target that Bridgewater has been waiting for while Alexander is a steal in the second round and is a big help in their division as the Vikings did well to fill needs and find value in the draft.

Cincinnati Bengals

24. William Jackson III, CB (UH) 55. Tyler Boyd, WR (Pitt)
87. Nick Vigil, LB (USU) 122. Andrew Billings, NT (Bay)
161. Christian Westerman, G (ASU) 199. Cody Core, WR (Miss)
245. Clayton Fejedelem, S (Ill)  
Things seemed to go right for the Bengals this draft as they were right there to take players that should not have fallen that far. After a great combine Jackson seemed to be rising but he fell to 34th while Billings and Westerman would also prove to be the biggest steals of the draft as the Bengals adding a lot of talent with some of the biggest value in the draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers

25. Artie Burns, CB (Mia) 58. Sean Davis, CB (Mar)
89. Javon Hargrave, DT (SCSU) 123. Jerald Hawkins, OT (LSU)
220. Travis Feeney, OLB (Was) 229. DeMarcus Ayers, WR (UH)
246. Tyler Matakevich, OLB (Tem)  
The Steel Curtain is a distant memory and the Steelers clearly knew it as they attacked their defensive shortcomings with two corners right away. All will be pretty good additions but the interesting pick could be Matakevich who was a leader in Temple and has that drive and passion to be a great NFL player if the Steelers can upgrade his skills.

Seattle Seahawks

31. Germain Ifedi, G (TA&M) 49. Jarran Reed, DT (Ala)
90. C.J. Prosise, RB (ND) 94. Nick Vannett, TE (OSU)
97. Rees Odhiambo, G (BSU) 147. Quinton Jefferson, DT (Mar)
171. Alex Collins, RB (Ark) 215. Joey Hunt, C (TCU)
243. Kenny Lawler, WR (Cal) 247. Zac Brooks, RB (Clem)
This draft seems like a strategy to attack their needs with a number of picks and letting the best players prove that they belong in the NFL. They went after the defensive and offensive line while also drafting three running backs to replace Marshawn Lynch and it could prove to be a good draft as they picked plenty of talent in areas of need.

Green Bay Packers

27. Kenny Clark, DT (UCLA) 48. Jason Spriggs, OT (IU)
88. Kyler Fackrell, LB (USU) 131. Blake Martinez, LB (Stan)
137. Dean Lowry, DE (NU) 163. Trevor Davis, WR (Cal)
200. Kyle Murphy, OT (Stan)  
It’s not a draft full of future superstars but the Packers were back at what they do best finding value and taking what they need. They found a tackle to replace BJ Raji and a couple of good offensive lineman to upgrade a big need while the linebackers they found could change this team in more ways than any other player as Clay Matthews may have been given the freedom to move back outside.

Kansas City Chiefs

37. Chris Jones, DT (Miss St) 74. KeiVarae Russell, CB (ND)
105. Parker Ehinger, G (Cin) 126. Demarcus Robinson, WR (UF)
162. Kevin Hogan, QB (Stan) 165. Tyreek Hill, WR (W Ala)
178. D.J. White, CB (GTU) 203. Dadi Nicolas, DE (VTU)
There is a lot of unknown in this group of players but if some of them pay out the Chiefs got some great value in this draft. Russell is a great defensive back that has struggled with injuries while Jones may not be on the field as much as they want. Still grabbing their needs at corner and potentially a good future QB in Hogan was and overall good draft.

New England Patriots

60. Cyrus Jones, CB (Ala) 78. Joe Thuney, G (NCSU)
91. Joey Brissett, QB (NCSU) 96. Vincent Valentine, DT (Neb)
112. Malcolm Mitchell, WR (UGA) 208. Kamu Grugier-Hill, OLB (EIU)
214. Elandon Roberts, LB (UH) 221. Ted Karras, G (Ill)
225. Devin Lucien, WR (ASU)  
It was a typical draft for the Pats as they got no superstars in the draft but drafted a lot of solid players that will make this team better. They could have used a better receiver earlier but Mitchell is a steal where they drafted him while Jones goes from one strict system to another and will fit perfectly into the atmosphere of the Patriots.

Arizona Cardinals

29. Robert Nkemdiche, DT (Miss) 92. Brandon Williams, CB (TA&M)
128. Evan Boehm, C (Mizz) 167. Marqui Christian, SS (MWSU)
170. Cole Toner, OT (Har) 205. Harlan Miller, CB (SESU)
The Cards have made a reputation for settling players with off-field issues and Nkemdiche fits the bill as they hope to reign him in and get the production that he can put on the field. Boehm is a solid pick and will help improve their line while Willliams and Miller hope to provide some depth to a good defensive backfield.

Carolina Panthers

30. Vernon Butler, DT (LTU) 62. James Bradberry, CB (Sam)
77. Daryl Worley, CB (WVU) 141. Zack Sanchez, CB (UO)
252. Beau Sandland, TE (Mon St)  
Butler seems like a pick where they simply liked the player more than what they needed but after that they went to work trying to replace Norman in the defensive backfield picking three corners hoping that one will hit like Norman did after being selected late in the draft. Overall not the worst draft but it is hard to see what they might need after making the Super Bowl last year.

Denver Broncos

26. Paxton Lynch, QB (Mem) 63. Adam Gotsis, DT (GTU)
98. Justin Simmons, FS (BC) 136. Devontae Booker, RB (Ut)
144. Connor McGovern, G (Mizz) 176. Andy Janovich, FB (Neb)
219. Will Parks, S (UA) 228. Riley Dixon, P (SU)
It’s hard to imagine what a championship needs in the draft but the Broncos did go get their biggest need as soon as they could. After Peyton Manning retired the Broncos needed a QB and they got one in Lynch but he is not ready to start as Mark Sanchez has some breathing room and the rest of the draft was simply restocking the cupboard for the Broncos.

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