Well, here we go.
Last season is now old news. The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine is approaching in just two weeks. Onward.
We’ve got our Monday mock, a two-rounder, from Mocking the Draft’s Dan Kadar, and the big takeaway is the sheer mountain of offensive talent available in Round 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft. As a result of the trade for WR Sammy Watkins, it’s a round which the Los Angeles Rams stand to be observers of rather than participants in as it currently stands. I wouldn’t be surprised if that fact changes between now and the draft.
This one has a top six where Kadar hints at the dropoff:
With Chubb, Barkley, and Nelson all gone, the Buccaneers could turn to whomever they consider to be the draft’s top offensive tackle.
In other words, once you get past the top tier, all bets are off.
The second round has the other two notable QB prospects in Louisville QB Lamar Jackson at #47 to the Arizona Cardinals while Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph sneaks into the second at #61 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
I’m very interested to see how the stock game plays out for Jackson at the combine. The smokescreens aplenty are coming, and I don’t know who they’re circle more: Jackson or Allen.
Cornering the cornerbacks
No shocker here:
Until an edge-rusher slips or the Rams make a move on a starter at cornerback in free agency, the old familiar pick of Jackson is the choice. If the Rams still had a second-round pick, it would be easier to look at a different position. But by the time Los Angeles picks again at No. 87, there won’t be such obvious starters. An edge-rusher like Josh Sweat of Florida State or Kemoko Turay of Rutgers would be interesting Day 3 picks if Robert Quinn gets cut.
Kadar gets a third corner into the first in UCF CB Mike Hughes at #31. Fittingly, a cornerback kicks off the second round in Auburn CB Carlton Davis. Colorado CB Isaiah Oliver, whom we’ve seen mocked to the Rams at #23 repeatedly, drops to #45 to the Green Bay Packers. The final pick of the second round is also a corner: Tennessee CB Rashaan Gaulden.
But my biggest takeaway was the quality of the offensive prospects in Round 2. The only wide receiver taken in the first round is Alabama WR Calvin Ridley, but the six wideouts in Round 2 aren’t far behind in terms of quality IMO. Same goes for the six offensive linemen compared to the linemen Kadar has going late in the first round (Notre Dame G Quenton Nelson is a top tier prospect, but as I’ve alluded to the magnitude of the drop-off is not small).
Consider the Bills’ haul in Round 2. With their natural pick at #53, they get Arkansas OL Frank Ragnow. They follow that up at #56, the pick the Rams supplied, with Memphis WR Anthony Miller. Having traded Watkins, lost WR Robert Woods to free agency and dealing with a confusing situation with C Eric Wood who may be retired (?), a Ragnow-Miller pairing is a very solid haul for a team that is coming off of a playoff berth. Add that to their first-round duo of Allen and Michigan DT Maurice Hurst, and you can see the real value of the second round and the impact of the gap for the Rams.