The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft started the way most anticipated, however, it didn’t take long for the draft to take on an unpredictable feel to it for reasons no one would have saw coming.
The Los Angeles Rams made it official with choosing quarterback Jared Goff of California with the first overall pick in the Draft. The pick will go down as an historic one, the Rams just moved back to the west coast after two decades in St. Louis.
The Rams may have found their franchise quarterback, he didn’t, however, come without a steep price to be paid. It took for a blockbuster trade with the Tennessee Titans to get the Rams the number one overall pick they would use to select Goff. The Rams had to give up their first-round pick, two second-round picks, and a third-round pick this year, as well as, their first-and third-round picks next year. The Titans did also send the Rams their picks from the fourth and sixth round this year, however there’s no doubt here how much was mortgaged just to get a chance at Goff.
Goff isn’t just the first pick of the draft, he’s now the face of an NFL franchise looking to begin a new chapter. The Rams last played in Los Angeles in 1994 before moving to St. Louis. They have not had a winning season since 2003. The hope here is a return to familiar settings, along with a talented young face to market will help rejuvenate a dormant team which hasn’t had much to look forward to in recent years.
The Philadelphia Eagles made a blockbuster deal of their own in order to get in position to take their guy with the number two overall pick. The Eagles selected quarterback Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State. Wentz, much like Goff, is expected to be the long-term solution at quarterback for the Eagles and the hope is he can develop into becoming the face of their franchise.
The price the Eagles paid to get Wentz was arguably just as steep than what the Rams had to do in order to get to the top spot. Philadelphia sent the Cleveland Browns their first, third, and fourth this year, their first-rounder for next year, and their second-round pick in 2018. The Browns also threw in their fourth-round pick next year.
One of the storylines to keep an eye on, looking forward, will be the quarterback situation in Philadelphia. The Eagles went all-out to get Wentz, despite signing Sam Bradford, their starting quarterback last season, to a two-year contract with $22 million in guaranteed money heading his way. Bradford reportedly wasn’t happy with the plan to move up to draft another quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see how that development plays out, especially since the Eagles still intend to have Bradford remain their starter and have no intentions of trading him.
The rest of the first round didn’t provide much in terms of sizzle on the draft board. Defensive end Joey Bosa and running back Ezekiel Elliott, both out of Ohio State, went to the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys respectively with the third and fourth overall picks. The Jacksonville Jaguars addressed a major need on defense, with the fifth overall pick, by taking defensive back Jaylen Ramsey out of Florida State.
The focus of this year’s draft slowly began to turn from the players hearing their names called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to the one player who, for 12 picks, didn’t hear his name called.
Shortly before the beginning of the draft, a video was posted on the verified Twitter account of Mississippi’s Laremy Tunsil, the top-rated offensive tackle on the board. The video showed a Tunsil smoking from a mask with a bong what appeared to be marijuana. Tunsil promptly took accountability for the video posting, which was deleted shortly before the account was deactivated.
Here now is Tunsil, considered at one time to be taken with the number one overall pick, plummeting down the draft board with general managers and upper management of teams passing on him, perhaps not looking to take on any glaring red flags that could potentially cost them their own jobs.
While Tunsil’s stock continued to fall, teams continued to look the other way when it was their turn to be on the clock. New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese decided on a “no issues” pick at number 10 of cornerback Eli Apple of Ohio State. Tampa would swap positions with the Chicago Bears in a trade to go from nine back to the 11-spot. The Bucs chose cornerback Vernon Hargreaves out of Florida.
Tunsil eventually found a landing spot at 13 with the Miami Dolphins. The pick will be analyzed closely over the next few months as Tunsil’s off the field concerns are now national headlines. The flipside to this coin is that Miami is getting tremendous value with this pick, they’ll get potential great player in Tunsil at a discounted rate. That’s not good news for Tunsil’s camp when it comes down to his pockets, but if he’s the real deal, he’ll have the chance to make up for it.
The Denver Broncos made sure they secured their quarterback of the future, Paxton Lynch, by trading two picks to the Seattle Seahawks in order to move up from 31 to 26 and grab him. Lynch could be a special one down the road for Denver’s Executive Vice President and General Manager, Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.
Myles Jack, a first-round talent out of UCLA with huge injury concerns, was passed over. It’ll be interesting to see which team takes a chance on him in the second round.
Ohio State had a big night on the draft board in the first round. Five Buckeyes heard their name called – Bosa (No.3) to San Diego, Elliott (No. 4) to Dallas, Eli Apple (No. 10) to the New York Giants, Taylor Decker (No. 16 overall) to Detroit and Darron Lee (No. 20 overall) to the New York Jets.
Which team was missing from the party last night? The New England Patriots did not select a player in the first round. Deflategate was the reason the Patriots lost out on their first-round pick this year and next year’s fourth-rounder. New England, however, has 11 picks in the remaining six rounds of the draft. If there’s any team that knows how to find value in the later rounds, it’s the Patriots.