Now that the NFL draft is behind us I thought it might be time to wrap it up with some odds and ends left over in the wake of the annual selection process.
- I for the most part agreed with the assessment of the Dolphins post draft roster roster for the Sun-Sentinel on Tuesday. But I have to take exception of his assertion that the defensive backfield is weaker than it was in 2015. The additions of Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard have transformed an under-sized unit into one with considerable more length that should be able to better deal with the rigors of divisional play with some huge tight ends and wide receivers on the docket. Rashad Jones remains with the team and the addition of Isa Abdul-Quddus is being under-rated.
I’m more in line with Armando Salguero at the Herald when he says that the the success of the Dolphins draft class rides on how well Howard develops. The Dolphins paid a steep price to get him, the 42nd overall pick along with a fourth-round pick (107th overall) to move up four slots in the second round. If he works out it will be well worth it as the Dolphins should be very solid across the board on the back end. If it doesn’t, it will go down as just one of a series of draft failures for the team at the position.
- Quarterback Cody Kessler may be the luckiest player in the NFL right now. Most believed going into the selection process that he was a late-round pick, if not an undrafted free agent. But all it takes is one and Kessler found an NFL coach that apparently believes in him.
Drafted in round 3 by the Cleveland Browns, presumably at the recommendation of head coach Hue Jackson, Kessler has none of the dominant physical tools that most coaches believe they need to mold a less instinctive quarterback into the next star (see Christian Hackenberg below). Instead, Jackson is betting on savvy and decision making. It will be interesting to see how Kessler develops and, if Jackson is right, if it won’t affect the way that other teams approach drafting the position in the future.
- This draft was widely believed to be among the deepest ever in terms of defensive tackles and players that would have gone in the first round in other drafts were available as late as the third round. The Dolphins decidedly under-performed opposite Ndamukong Suh at this position and you have to wonder if they won’t regret simply sticking with Deandre Coleman and Jordan Phillips.
The Dolphins have staked a lot on the effect of another year’s experience and better coaching when it comes to these players. There’s little hope that the run defense will be better unless there is improvement in the play at defensive tackle.
- If you’re already tired of seeing new Minnesota Viking Moritz Boehringer on your TV screen, I’ve got some bad news for you. You’re going to see a lot more of him this summer and, heaven help us, into the fall.
Boehringer is a German born wide receiver who saw a video of Adrian Peterson when he was 17 and decided that he wanted to be a NFL football player. He comes to the league as a former member of the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League.
Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer was apparently thrilled as he said, “That’s kind of what the draft is all about — making dreams come true.”
Zimmer has been around long enough to know that is most certainly not what the draft, or anything else associated with the NFL, is about.
Dollar signs appeared in owners eyes all over the league as an opportunity to further promote football in Europe presented itself on a silver platter and the NFL Network has run with it, making it one of the stories of the draft.
If Boehringer had been Chinese, commissioner Roger Goodell would have probably had to change his pants.
- The release of Demontre Moore by the Dolphins immediately after the draft was a bit of a surprise. Moore was expected to compete for a backup defensive end spot on a team without a great deal of depth there.
We can only speculate about what precipitated this release but it wasn’t the draft as the Dolphins failed to select a defensive end. Perhaps the reason had something to do with this explanation from Salguero .
Because thing he did best was stand behind reporters and joke w/ teammates while they were being interviewed. https://t.co/mpapTLmPnk
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) May 2, 2016
It’s also worth noting that Moore was released from the Giants after violating team rules, reportedly after an altercation with Cullen Jenkins over headphones. Jay Glazer at Fox Sports reported that it was only one of many such altercations.
Similar incidents would be a pretty good reason to release such a player in Miami. The release may also be a sign that the Dolphins are counting on the return of troubled player Dion Jordan more than they ought.
- The Cowboys have received a lot of good publicity for taking linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round. Smith was widely believed to be amongst the best players in the draft until he suffered a brutal knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl. The images of Smith’s relief at being drafted so high were heart warming but ultimately the Cowboys may pay a high price for the good feelings this evoked.
Smith’s injury included a damaged nerve similar to what running back Marcus Lattimore suffered in 2012. Lattimore was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft and never played a down for the 49ers.
This is the trouble with nerve injuries. There’s nothing you can do to fix them. Either the body heals on its own or it never heals at all. Before the draft I figured that there were 32 team doctors all telling 32 general managers the same thing: “We don’t know. It could come completely back or it might not.” I was wrong. It was 31 team doctors.
That’s because the surgeon who fixed Smith’s knee is the Cowboys team doctor. The assumption here is that owner Jerry Jones thought he was getting inside information on this injury but he really should know better.
Surgeons as a group are a different breed. They carry a confidence about them such that I’ve never met one yet that would look you in the eye and say, “Naw. He may never recover.” That confidence is part of what makes them good surgeons. But it makes the advice that Jones got in this case highly questionable.
Feel good or not, Smith should have never come off the board before the fourth round. The guess here is the his recovery is a coin flip at best.
- Texans quarterback Brock Oswieler is widely believed to be one of the veteran players who benefited most from his team’s picks in the draft. The Texans added a great deal of speed at wide receiver opposite DeAndre Hopkins in the form of Will Fuller in the first round and Braxton Miller in the third.
Here’s the problem with that theory. Fuller is an under-sized body catcher who had 21 drops the last two seasons. Miller made the conversion from quarterback to wide receiver last year at Ohio State and was very athletic. Unfortunately he too has trouble not only with running routes but with just holding on to the ball as demonstrated graphically by his less than stellar performance in the Senior Bowl.
Sure these players are athletic. But how much help are they going to be if they lack the hand-eye coordination to perform the most basic function of any wide receiver: catching the ball.
- One Final Thought: Message to the New York Jet, who pulled off one of the surprises of the draft when they took Hackenberg in the second round. It’s not a good thing when the NFL Network flashes up a graphic about your pick and under “Weaknesses” it simply says, “Game Tape”.
Good luck with that.