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NFL Weekend: 2016 NFL Draft Analysis

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The City of Chicago has been rockin' the last few days, and rounds 1 thru 7 are in the book. Undrafted free agents are inking deals, and dreams are about to be tested for a slew of young men fresh out of college.  The NFL Draft in 2016 has been amazing; filled with drama, with highs and lows o' plenty. After the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia cleared the shelf of top quarterbacks, the REAL draft began...

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It began with shocking news about the medical status of UCLA's Myles Jack. Rumors had been swirling for the last week or so about Jack's knee, and it was revealed he may need micro-fracture surgery at some point in the near future. It caused his draft stock to spectacularly plummet until Jacksonville pulled in the trigger early in the second round.

Then came the video of Laremy Tunsil, the uber-talented tackle out of Ol' Miss. The short video appeared in Tunsil's own Twitter account, but before he could delete it the damage was done. Whoever did this to Tunsil has to be one of the lowest of the low kind of human beings. In fact, scratch that: The person who did this is a total piece of S#&@! Digging up a 4 year old video the screw Tunsil - during one of the most important moments of his life - needs to be investigated. Get the FBI in on this, and I'm pretty sure they'll find their way to a certain step-father Tunsil has had issues with recently... Miami stepped up through the cloud of 4 year old smoke, and may have landed the biggest steal in the 2016 NFL Draft.

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TRADE! That's going to be the watch word to describe the 2016 NFL Draft in years to come. In the first round alone, their were 12 pick position changes. Now we know why Mock Drafts are an all but futile attempt to buy time during the NFL off season, right? The Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns get my award for top wheeler-dealers. The Titans found a way to get 3 picks in round 2, and they parlayed them into solid choices: DE Kevin Dodd, NT Austin Johnson, and running back Derrick Henry.

Cleveland's draft worries me a bit. With all the "Money Ball" gabble surrounding their front office changes seemingly steering this draft as they traded down to gather picks, it's the picks they've made that have me edgy. It should have Cleveland fans concerned too. The term "upside" is always - ALWAYS - subjective at best, and the Browns' choices are leaning on coaching, and a bit of luck, to remake this team. Quantity over quality appears to be the rule here, as well as playing the averages for success in the NFL for drafted players.

I don't know exact figures, but it seems to me a 40% to 60% "hit rate" on draft picks could be a fair assessment? If so, the Browns front office is taking an almost shotgun approach - they selected a total of 14 players in this draft - to jump start the team's rebuild. Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Shon Coleman, and Cody Kessler were taken in the first 3 rounds. None of these players have that guaranteed Day 1 starter appeal to me. Corey Coleman is fast, but his level of football knowledge is going to have to expand rapidly at the next level. I like Nassib's intense work ethic as a walk on at Penn State, but there's a whole other gear he'll need to find in the NFL. Ogbah may be the strongest choice here, but he's still raw. Cody Kessler may be the most intriguing - and shocking - pick in the first two days of the Browns' 2016 NFL Draft. While at USC, he was an accurate game manager as a quarterback, but little else...

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The biggest draft day drop wasn't Myles Jack, or Laremy Tunsil. That honor resides with Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings, and I'm beyond shocked at him lasting all the way deep into the 4th round when Cincinnati finally grabbed him. I'm not really buying the rumors out ther about his being a "2 down" player. This guy screams Vince Wilfork 2.0 to me, and how defense-minded Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams let him slip by - TWICE - when his team finally got to make selections in the 4th round is very, very odd...

Billings had been in "1st round speak" for months in scouting and Mock Draft circles. His college film showed a guy who could control the line of scrimmage like few others. So why did he last so long in this draft? Call it draft need kismet all you want, but the Bengals scored on this selection...

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The New York Jets selecting Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg had to have Time Square filled with the sound of hands slapping foreheads. Like the crack of broken bat, Jets fans are left to wonder how this - in any way - solves their current quarterback problem. Ryan Fitzpatrick has to be chuckling a bit if he gets a phone call from the Jets GM telling him he better sign fast, or he'll lose his job to... Hackenberg? Really... REALLY? While the former Penn State star may return to his freshman form under NFL coaching, it's not likely he'll press for playing time in the near future. That leaves Geno Smith and Brice Petty to make Jets fans feel all warm and fuzzy if "Fitz-Magic" doesn't re-sign...

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While I've long held the 2016 NFL Draft class in less than high esteem, there's a side to this April show that's eluded me. The teams who were placed in a position to "dot a few i-s" did just that, with players who seem to be great need fits. Jacksonville may have upset the proverbial apple NFL cart if Myles Jack lands on solid knees. Remember, they actually will have 3 great players hitting the field for the first time for their defense in 2016. Outside linebacker Dante Fowler - the #3 overall pick in 2015 - missed the entire season. Six of their 7 draft picks were directed at defense, and every player had one single talent aspect in common: shutting down passing attacks. Whether it's Jalen Ramsey deep covering top wide receivers, or Jack, Fowler, Yannick Ngakoue, Sheldon Day, or Tyler Holmes getting off the edge in pass rush, opposing quarterbacks in the NFC South should be very, very worried...

Another team who made the right moves in shaping their team was the Dallas Cowboys. When they selected Ezekiel Elliott, they made the choice to stop guessing at how to fix their running game. The roll of the dice on Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith was a sound one, and if it works out these two selections alone will see the Cowboys back into the post season.

Cincinnati may have made the best all-round defensive moves, with William Jackson III, Andrew Billings, and Nick Vigil. You heard it here first: This is now a top 3 defense with the great depth adds by the Bengals. On offense, I'm not sure Tyler Boyd will replace Marvin Jones and Mohammed Sanu out the gate, but Fantasy Football owners are going to swarm on the former Pittsburgh star receiver. Playing opposite A.J. Green, Boyd is going to see loads of opportunities in 2016.

Some "i-dotting" missed the mark. The New York Giants needed help in the secondary, and over-reached with Ohio State's Eli Apple. The beneficiary of a strong front seven in college, Apple's game could get exposed in a weak Giants' defense. They had huge need at linebacker, and seemed to turn away from the position for yet another year. Their best pick of the day was Oklahoma's Sterling Sheppard, who looks like a solid option if Victor Cruz stays hobbled, or can't return to form.

San Francisco spread their 11 draft picks across the position board. If 49ers fans didn't know it before, they know now this team is in full blown re-build mode under new head coach Chip Kelly. Past San Francisco teams held toughness as their general rule, but Kelly's preference for specific needs and performance may skew the norm.

DeForest Buckner looks like a deja vu selection of Arik Armstead in 2015. I think Buckner is more talented than Armstead, and doesn't play as up-right as his former Oregon teammate. They went off the rails a bit in the 2nd round, reaching for Stanford guard Joshua Garnett. With the recent history of Stanford linemen in the NFL, I would have leaned more toward Kansas State's Cody Whitehair. More shocking still, is the fact San Francisco didn't draft a linebacker? They went high and hard for corner backs, drafting three. The 49ers also looked away when they had a chance to add a running back like Alabama's Derrick Henry. They would've had to make a move back up in the second round to snag him, but they had oceans of draft pick to do so. Carlos Hyde isn't a running back I'd hang my 2016 running back hat on...

The Los Angeles Rams went all offense in the 2016 NFL Draft. They traded most of this year's and next's top picks to land Jared Goff; finally having a chance to select a player in the 4th round. Off field troubles and injury concerns had Western Kentucky tight end Tyler Higbee off most draft boards. No stranger to taking a flyer on a troubled player, Jeff Fisher rolled the dice, and added position insurance with South Carolina State tight end Temerrick Hemingway. South Carolina wide receiver Pharoh Cooper may work out as a slot receiver, but neither he, or Southern Miss receiver Mike Thomas look like anything different from what the Rams already have on their roster...

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There's were loads of compensatory draft choices, but the best - to me - was by the Denver Broncos when they selected Devontae Booker, running back, Utah. I had him AHEAD of Alabama's Heisman Trophy winning running back Derrick Henry on my draft board. Lasting all the way to the end of the 4th round due to some scholastic concerns he had while in school, I truly believe Denver hit solid gold. I think he's an almost lock to take over at starting running back for the Broncos in 2016, and will be a Pro Bowl player down the line....

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Three days later, new careers in the NFL have begun. Contracts will be signed, training camps will begin and end. In the coming 2016 NFL season, many of the names called on a stage in Chicago, Illinois at this end of yet another April will take the field as professional athletes for the first time in the months ahead. There'll be some rough starts for more than a few of these young men, and a select group - who make an immediate impact for their teams - will skyrocket into the minds of NFL fans around the world. The fortunes of teams will ebb and flow in an undefined tide, crashing to the shore in the Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. It all begins now, so get ready for a fantastic season ahead...