April 27, 2016

How the NFL draft could get really shaken up

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

The old joke about mock draft is that it’s fairly easy to mock them when all is said and done.

There’s no way to predict 100% accurately what will happen during the usually crazy first round of the NFL draft, but we do our best to try. Between trades, teams going off the board and scouts generally knowing more about prospects that we don’t, it’s very easy to have your mock blown up pretty quickly.

Here are a couple of crazy scenarios that could take place, but are some pretty wild ideas.

-The Eagles didn’t trade up to take a QB second overall, they did it for Ezekiel Elliott.

Of course, there’ s a 99% chance that Philly gave up a king’s ransom to move up and take their cornerstone pivot of the future, but what if we’re all wrong and this move was insure they land Elliott? Reports previous to the trade said that Philly loved him, but what if there are some other teams out there that feel the same – like Dallas for instance. Moving up to No. 2 would leapfrog the Cowboys and land the draft’s top RB for a team that already has two QBs.

-Speaking of Elliott, where will he go? Excluding that previous scenario, he has been mocked anywhere from No. 4 to falling into the second round. There are plenty of teams that could use an excellent back like the Ohio State product – Cleveland, the Giants, Miami and Indy to name a few – which means there will be plenty of interest in moving up to grab him, much like the Rams did last year for Todd Gurley.

-Imagine the reaction if Dallas take Laremy Tunsil. With an offensive line of Tunsil, Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Travis Frederick and, Zack Martin, the Cowboys could start anyone at running back and guarantee them nearly 100 yards per game and Tony Romo would have a much better chance at staying healthy. Of course, that would create cap problems in the future by investing so much in one position group, but that is one scary line to think about.

-With the easy money being on Jared Goff and Carson Wentz going 1-2, when will a team take the next QB off the board, likely Paxton Lynch? There are some QB-needy teams so we’re likely to see a team trade up to take Lynch, even if he seems like a project. Could Cleveland take him at No. 8, or will they trade back with a team that wants him? The Saints, Bills, Jets, Cardinals and Broncos could all be in the market for a pivot this draft, so we’ll see who bites.

-Myles Jack’s knee is a cause for concern to some teams. While some scouts say he’s the most talented player in the draft, that assessment could lead to him dropping into the teens. You can bet if he starts freefalling, there will be some teams that are more than willing to take a risk on the UCLA linebacker.

-Jaylon Smith is another linebacker that has all the talent in the world, but also a massive knee issue. Reportedly, nerve damage in his knee could cause him huge problems even walking. Of course, if a team believes enough in him, who knows what lengths they could go to in order to land a potential top-five talent.

-Another super-talented wildcard is Robert Nkemdiche. Rated as one of the top defensive linemen in the draft, his red flags are personality issues and an incident at a party. Reports this week say some teams are willing to look past those issues, making him a real question mark on mocks and a potential top-20 pick.

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