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NFL: 1st Round Grades – Offensive Players


One of the words you will hear the most during the 2016 NFL draft is value. Everything is about value. Whether it’s value for the position, value for the player themselves, or value for the pick, 90% of the draft is about getting the best value for the spot you are selecting. Before you can get into where a player would provide the best value, you 1st have to get to know the people who should hear their names called on day 1. Today I will be going over the offensive players I have with 1st round grades.

Rays

Quarterbacks:

Jared Goff – California
Carson Wentz – North Dakota State
Paxton Lynch – Memphis
Connor Cook – Michigan State

I like Goff the most out of this group, most NFL-ready and good accuracy to go with his high intelligence of reading a defense. I personally think Wentz is overrated and shouldn’t go in the 1st half of the 1st round, but he obviously will, you’ve been warned Philadelphia. Lynch has the best physical attributes of any QB in the draft, but he’s also the most green. He needs 2 years of sitting on the bench ala Rodgers behind Farve. Cook can be a solid, but not great QB, think more like a Mark Sanchez type. Doesn’t seem to be the greatest leader and he wasn’t even his team’s captain, that’s a HUGE knock for a QB.

Rays2

Running Backs:

Ezekiel Elliott – Ohio State
Derrick Henry – Alabama

I like Elliott and I think he is the best RB in this class by far, but I still think he is being a bit overrated. The year that Todd Gurley had is helping Elliott’s draft stock. If it was me, he would be a mid-1st round pick. No way should he be talked about for top 5. Henry literally looks like a monster. His biggest issue is he has slow moving legs so if he doesn’t get blocking, he can have a lot of losses in the backfield. However, put him behind a Dallas line, in round 2, and you’ve got yourself a 1500 yards and 15 TD type of RB.

Rays3

Wide Receivers:

Laquan Treadwell – Mississippi
Josh Doctson – TCU
William Fuller – Notre Dame
Corey Coleman – Baylor
Michael Thomas – Ohio State

Treadwell is considered the best of this year WRs group. He reminds me of Keyshawn Johnson with his average to below average speed, but huge hands and body. However, he is not my #1 WR, Josh Doctson is. Doctson has the best hands in the draft and has great body control no matter where he is on the field. Reminds me a lot of Cris Carter except faster. Fuller is the fastest WR in the draft and has the highest ceiling and the lowest floor. His comparison is long time New England Patriot, Terry Glenn.

Corey Coleman is a guy that people are very split on. Some people believe he could be the best WR in this draft and some people think he is Kendall Wright 2.0. I am in the middle. I think he will have to play slot in the NFL, but I think he is more talented than Wright, who also went to Baylor and was a 1st round pick, very Tyler Lockett-like, who I hyped last year. I am very down on Michael Thomas. He has the physical attributes, but I never see him consistently putting it together. Teams will take him on talent.

Mississippi v Auburn

Offensive Linemen:

Laremy Tunsil – Mississippi
Ronnie Stanley – Notre Dame
Jack Conklin – Michigan State
Taylor Decker – Ohio State
Jason Spriggs – Indiana

Only 2 weeks ago, Laremy Tunsil was the consensus top pick by most people in the industry. A couple of trades later and now he could drop into the 6th to 10th range. He is getting caught in the “no need, no fit” zone. On the field, he’s the best OL in the draft, but on the field isn’t everything that counts anymore. Ronnie Stanley is the cleaner OT prospect and reports have surfaced, take it for what it’s worth, that most teams in the top 10 like him over Tunsil. I feel Stanley needs to get stronger and develop a little bit of a mean streak, but he is a great run blocker, can play both LT and RT, and has had no off field issues.

Of the 3 remaining on the OL 1st rounders, Conklin can play LT, but would be better suited for RT dude to his lack of foot speed. He’s more of a tough worker than a flashy technician. Decker is a better run blocker than Conklin, but has very short arms. Some in the league actually think he makes a better guard than tackle. Spriggs was the combine warrior. He put on a show in Indy that guaranteed him a 1st round spot, now can he transfer what he has shown in the drill, onto the football field.

Rays5

Borderline 1st round grades:

TE Hunter Henry – Arkansas
G Cody Whitehair – Kansas State
C Ryan Kelly – Alabama
OT Shon Coleman – Auburn
OT Germain Ifedi – Texas A&M

Bad year for TEs, Henry is the best, but don’t go crazy over him. Whitehair is probably the best interior lineman. I worry that he may be too small at only 301 pounds. Kelly is the consensus top C, and he’s a great run blocker, but he can be overpowered at times by big interior d-linemen. Coleman has a great story, a cancer survivor. Opinions on him range from 1st round to 3rd. Ifedi is something I like much more as a guard than a tackle. His feet aren’t fast enough to keep up with speed rushers. In my opinion, at 324 pounds, move him inside and he could be a pro bowler.

 

All in all, this year has a lot of good offensive prospects that can be impact players in the NFL. Offense is what has been pushed more and more in the past couple years in the league. All of the above have the potential that could impact the teams that take them from day one of the season. On Thursday night we’ll see at least 15-20 of the guys I mentioned above shaking hands with Roger Goodell, so I suggest you get to know them because they may be a key piece to your team’s future success.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]