1. The Cleveland Browns play the game
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I was really impressed with the work they were able to do this past weekend, especially in the first round. Getting the drafts best player and then trading down to get a talented offensive weapon AND THEN trading up to get a versatile player for both your defense and special teams, well, that’s good drafting. At least it appears that way right now. There’s always a disclaimer when it comes to draft evaluation because you have to look at how well the team performed in the game that is the 2017 draft. It’s pretty hard to actually judge how good players are going to be down the road, though that certainly plays into it. The Browns certainly look good now, but we’ll have to see the players
I do like a lot of the guys the Browns were able to add and it seems like they’ve at least put a few pieces in place to build their team around. They have a quaterback, tight end, safety, and edge rusher in place for what they hope to be the foreseeable future and that’s a huge step forward for a team that’s been mired in the role of being the laughingstock of the league.
2. Teams getting their guys
Look, it’s hard to find a winning quarterback in this league. I’m pretty sure the Houston Texans or Chicago Bears would tell you that. Hell, I’m sure every team in the league would tell you that. Even though everyone understands that truth, it was still a pretty shocking surprise when both of those teams made a huge trade up the board to get the guy they think can be their franchise guy moving forward. The Kansas City chiefs joining the party
Let me be clear – I like this move for all three teams. The Texans is the easiest sell: they haven’t had a franchise passer in, well, ever. They shot all the way up the board to grab last year’s national champion, Deshaun Watson. Great move. They needed a competent QB to put them into contention for AFC South crowns and it looks like they might have found one.
The Chiefs also jumped up from the back of the draft, this time to draft the gun-slinging Patrick Hahomes. This move reminded me a lot of the Broncos grabbing Paxton Lynch. You know the guy you have will be done soon, so grab a young passer to step in once Alex Smith is gone and the defense you can implement should be able to help ease him in.
But the Chicago Bears trading up from number three to number two (while giving a way a trio of mid round picks for the honor to do so) is a much tougher sell, especially when the guy they’re getting hasn’t been highly touted prior to the draft process. It’s easy to say the Bears got fleeced, but based on the fact that so many other teams were interested in passers, I have to think the market for that second pick was pretty hot. And if that’s the case then the Bears no longer have the second pick if they’re dead set on Trubisky. What they have instead is a very powerful asset to use to trade for the pick required to take Trubisky.
Now we might disagree that he’s worth paying that kind of price, but the Bears clearly did think that and they got the guy that they think can turn them around. For the rest of the NFC North, it’s definitely something to worry about. The Bears are already bad, there’s a catalyst for change now and it’s a big one.
3. Steady hands
At the same time, just because you need a quarterback doesn’t necessarily mean you should do everything in your power to get one. Especially when your team has so many needs that every pick fills a hole. In that case, you can take players you find to be the best available and build your team to find a quarterback when it is ready. Making slow, patient moves takes a lot of guts. And you know who showed the fortitude to exercise patience?
Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2017 New York Jets.
I’m sure the fact that we have a few more years of Tom Brady helped to decelerate their building curve. But, either way, this allowed them to draft four players for their secondary and three pass catchers, opting to build up some positions of strength instead of betting it all on one player.
Besides, they used a second round pick on Christian Hackenberg last year. I know the sunk cost fallacy says you should ignore the price you paid for something, but that fallacy doesn’t take effect until you know the current value of the good. If the Jets weren’t sold on any of these quarterbacks, they were right to see what they already had under the tree.
4. The Bengals getting explosive
The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that makes a lot of mistakes. They turn the ball over. They commit dumb penalties.
In short, they beat themselves.
So it makes sense for a team that has these types of issues to limit the amount of plays it takes for them to achieve success. This Bengals team runs best when it gets to the end zone and gets there in big chunks. In 2015, when they went 12 and 4 and won the division AJ Green had 132 catches and averaged 15 yards a catch and Andy Dalton averaged 8.5 yards per catch (before getting knocked out of the season, derailing their Super Bowl chances). Last year, both of those numbers dipped and despite having roughly the same amount of yards per game the Bengals offense scored over six less points a game. And the team sputtered to a sub .500 season.
For them to get back to being one of the top teams in the AFC, they need to score more points with similar yards. The way to do that is to eat up big chunks at a time, which help to tilt the field in your favor.
It makes an impact on their defense too. It has a tenacity to go for the turnover, which can either pair with a big lead to shut down the other team early or allow them to get back into when their gambles miss. Either way, a big league causes the first and helps to mitigate the other. If the Bengals can use this players to replicate the success of their 2015 offense, the AFC North should be on high alert.
What kind of piece would it be if I didn’t put myself over a little bit? Let’s review the bets from Thursday night:
Three QBs in the first round? [x] Christian McCaffrey at number 9 or lower? [x] Three LSU players in the first round? [x] Myles Garrett first overall? [x] TJ Watt first round? [x] Ryan Ramcyzk in the first round? [x]
My line of betting became doubly exciting when I had both the Wisconsin player bets in success to end the first round, it was quite exhilarating. Though I was disappointed that the Packers passed on TJ Watt, I was happy to see him make it in somewhere else. He and Ryan both deserve it, and I look forward to watching them (and Vince Beagel!) represent the Badgers in the NFL.
As long as they don’t do it against Green Bay.