Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals Among First Round Winners, Myles Jack, Colin Kaepernick Lose
The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft had just about everything. Some players fell, some went much earlier than expected, and some had videos of bong hits posted to their Twitter account 30 minutes before the draft.
“Interesting” doesn’t do it justice. “Unpredictable and borderline comical” maybe. Let’s take a look at some of the big winners and sore losers from Thursday:
Jacksonville Jaguars: I can’t believe it either. Of course, training camp hasn’t started yet, and I’m sure the Jags will find a way to screw everything up, but as of now they actually look like a professional football team. Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey was arguably the most talented player in the draft this season, and the Jags were very fortunate to see him fall to No. 5. Ramsey is a guy who could easily turn out like Patrick Peterson in Arizona.
Arizona Cardinals: Speaking of the Cardinals, Robert Nkemdiche was a fantastic value selection at 29th overall. Nkemdiche was a projected No. 1 pick at one point before the dismissal from Ole Miss and his drug issues. Of course, the Cards are no stranger to drafting troubled college athletes. Bruce Arians and company did an excellent job turning Tyrann Mathieu around, and now they will have the opportunity to get Nkemdiche’s life back on track as well.
Honorary Mentions: The Denver Broncos found a long-term solution to their quarterback dilemma with Paxton Lynch, the Miami Dolphins got a great value in Laremy Tunsil at No. 13 despite the issues, and the Oakland Raiders did well grabbing Karl Joseph to bolster a weak secondary.
Myles Jack: The UCLA linebacker was a projected top five pick, but doctors and teams were afraid that his knee was so bad he wouldn’t even make it through his rookie contract. Some people say it’s really bad, others are saying it’ll be fine, but either way, Jack dropped to the early second round where he was picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s a lot of lost wages…and it’s the Jaguars.
Colin Kaepernick: Although the prospect of Kaepernick wising up and joining the Denver Broncos seemed dull before the draft, that opinion is completely off the table for the San Francisco 49ers QB after John Elway and company selected Paxton Lynch in the first round.
On the same note, you can mark Lynch and the Broncos as big winners. Lynch finds himself on a “Just-Add-Quarterback” Super Bowl-ready team with a chance to compete for the starting position. The Broncos also found a long-term solution to the problem caused by Brock Osweiler’s leaving.
Dallas Cowboys: I don’t want to say the Cowboys screwed up by taking Ezekiel Elliot with the fourth overall selection, but they really didn’t need a running back. Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden would have been more than capable of handling the situation by themselves.
The main reason I take issue with the Cowboys’ selection is that Jalen Ramsey, who again was arguably the most talented overall player in the 2016 NFL Draft, was still on the board. The Cowboys need a lot of help on defense, especially in their secondary. With players like Odell Beckham Jr., DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Victor Cruz lining up opposite you twice a season, you want as tough of a secondary as possible.
Honorable Mentions: The New England Patriots cheated and lost their pick, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze got caught up in the Tunsil scandal, and the New York Giants failed to draft the best available cornerback when they didn’t even need a cornerback.