Red Zone League Articles

2019 Annual 1st Round Draft Analysis! Picks 1-16
By Matthew Davis
Special to rzl-football.com


With Day one of the 2019 Draft finished, one that was one of the most anticipated drafts of RZL history featuring some Wheelin'-N'-Dealin', Great Picks, MISSED Picks, more fights, and everything in between... Time to stir up some more excitement once again with a personalized analysis from -Yours Truly! Twisted Evil

With that the disclaimer, as always, goes -- These are, of course, just my ideas. They are not personal and they reflect a myriad of ideas including, but not limited to, Team Needs, Who was left on the board, Draft History, and How the pick came to being. You may also note, although I tried to see it and mask it, I don't always value AWR and TAK or abilities that are likely to see quick progression early in their career. I tried my best to keep in mind that many draft a lot based on these attributes as they are key to production early, but I tend to overlook them, knowing if they play, they will eventually come around. I tried..

Hope you all enjoy! --




[1.1] -- New York Jets --
QB Andrew Luck - Stanford
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 21 OVR: 85 HT: 6'4" WT: 227lbs. AWR: 77 / THP: 94 / THA: 86 / INJ: 85

[1.14], [2.14], CB Jason McCourty, MLB Clint White, RT Ronny Hodge, AND DT Darrell Burgess. THAT'S the price of this guy. Is it a lot!? F*** yea it is. Is he worth it?? F*** yea he is. Who wins in this trade? Only time will tell. Each player has 2 or more years on his contract, and he is only getting Andrew Luck out of this. BUT... QBs win games in Madden. A bad QB can mean a bad season even with a good team. Trust me... I KNOW THIS.

As for Luck's analysis.. He is the Consensus #1 overall player. And why not? He is THE FRANCHISE QB every team dreams of. He has it all. Great arm strength, size, mobility, accuracy and he isn't dumb for a rookie. He isnt a big injury liability. He will be a star, he will be an All-Pro guy. Hard to get this one wrong, just baffling that at one point this almost wasn't the #1 pick. Grats and thanks to Mr. Spencer for not making the RZL look like the dumbest league in the LP. Matty gave up a lot to get Luck, and will surely be filling a lot of holes in the team now, but the good side of this is, his team will grow with Luck, and there is no doubt in my mind it will move forward with a guy like Luck under center. I say one off year as they replenish some of the positions they depleted themselves in, but once they get back rolling, they will be a force in the AFC. A QB this good, will just win games. Period.
Pros: Almost everything, he is the TOTAL package. He has a great arm, accuracy and head on his shoulders, he won't be a liability.
Cons: As is tough for any rookie QB, he will take sacks he won't later in his career as he gets used to the pro defenses, and may throw some bad routes until he gets down the playbook, but that won't take long.

DRAFT GRADE: A -- Can't give it an A+ because this really is a no-brainer. Anyone else at this spot would be an instant F with him on the board still. Great job Mr. Spencer and the future is bright for the J - E- T- S, JETS JETS JETS!!!




[1.2] -- Cincinnati Bengals --
CB Patrick Peterson - LSU
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 22 OVR: 84 HT: 6'0" WT: 218lbs. SPD: 96 / STR: 64 / AGI: 97 ACC: 95 / CTH: 66 / AWR: 68 / JMP: 93 INJ: 90

Peterson... Never has it been more clear who the top two picks in the RZL draft would be. Not to my knowledge at least. Peterson, like Luck is the total package for his position with one "slight flaw" and I use that very loosely. At 6'0" he isn't the going fad in the RZL for 6'2"++++ CB's. BUT at 6'0" he still stands big enough to guard the fastest, and most of the time the tallest WR on the opposing team. No doubt going to lock down any teams #1 WR for his entire career, we might as well get the posters and T-Shirts going with the "Peterson Island" brand name plastered all over them. Peterson has amazing weight, and strength for a CB, something many are coming to love, but know is not the end-all-be-all. He has ELITE and I mean ELITEEEEEE athleticism, which likely will max out in speed or get very close to it. He can jump with the best and is not an big concern to see the team doc's office. He can create turnovers, and is ready NOW as far as young CB's go. He will be at least mid/high 70's awareness by years end, and likely a candidate for DROTY.
Pros: Athletic as they come. Ready now, not an injury concern and has the added bonus' of weight and strength for a CB on his side. One of the best we've seen in the draft in a long while.
Cons: While a great prospect as far as rookies go, starting right now, he will get beat deep from time to time by some of those stud WR's he will be facing in the RZL. If he encounters those rare super fast and super tall WRs like Captain Jack, even a talent like he might have a little trouble being only 6'0".

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A -- Again, knocked the ball out of the park, but this was a no-brainer. Saving my A+'s for a real steal in the draft, I suppose. This was an automatic.




[1.3] -- Atlanta Falcons --
WR Justin Blackmon - Oklahoma St.
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 20 OVR: 86 HT: 6'2" WT: 221lbs. SPD: 94 / STR: 75 / AGI: 95 / ACC: 96 / CTH: 83 / AWR: 63 / JMP: 96 INJ: 90

This was the guy the Falcons traded up to get. Had either Peterson or Luck fallen, I'm sure they would have been snatched up right away, but otherwise, this is why they moved. Giving up [1.6], [2.19], and [3.23] to get the 3rd overall pick seemed, to many, to be a hefty price tag, but not to me. This is actually a bit of an underpayment. There are no guarantees in any player draft. People are just unpredictable. This is even great value according to a draft pick value chart. Many argue that the almost identical WR Malcolm Floyd would have fallen to [1.6], but the Jags proved that theory wrong, so if WR was their only position of need, which I suppose may be true, they got the best one and made sure they got him. I love the move and being aggressive to get your guy. Worked like a charm. He is a stud, with elite athleticism, hands for a rookie, vertical leap, not an injury concern and great size at 6'2", 221 lbs. Also one of the strongest WR's in the league, he will be able to fling smaller pressing CB's like rag dolls if they venture too close. I can't wait to see him in action.
Pros: Amazing blend of speed, athleticism and pure power and size. Great hands for a young guy and will develop into one of the better ones in the league for sure.
Cons: Almost nothing. The guy has it all.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A -- Still a pretty obvious pick. We are starting to see chances for variation and personal flare to picks, but this one was a lock before the draft began. Grats on following through with the swing.




[1.4] -- Arizona Cardinals --
DE Quinton Coples - North Carolina
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 20 OVR: 89 HT: 6'6" WT: 278lbs. SPD: 86 / STR: 74 / AGI: 84 / ACC: 87 / AWR: 64 / TAK: 75 / INJ: 85

The first of the Cardinals two top 7 picks. Basically I see the Cardinals as having 2 needs this high in the draft and one possible need. RT (assuming Jake Long goes to LT) and WR with a possibility on RE ( I view Lawrence Sidbury Jr. as more than adequate starting LE, and honestly see Pierre Travis as a servicable RE since I don't think RE matters very much at all -- SEE Ken Tulley on the Jags.) After identifying needs, its time to line up the BPA's. We had OT Matt Kalil still available, and WR Malcom Floyd at the top of the two needs, and then of course Coples as the guaranteed top flight DE. I disagree going Coples here, but not because he is not great or won't be great. This high in the draft BPA is a good thing, except when there is equal talent at a position of need and when that position is important. Moving Sidbury Jr. to RE effectively makes him a VERY GOOD slug position, and gives you one of the better pass rushing LE's in the league, still leaving a hole at WR and RT, some very important positions. I just dont think the improvement from Sidbury to Coples is anywhere near the value you get with Floyd or Kalil.
Now on Coples analysis, he is a great LE. He will be one of the better ones in the league for a long time. He has elite size, speed, first step, good tackler and will grow into understanding what offenses are trying to do to him. He isn't an injury risk so he is a great player. His strength is adequate, although for the ultra-elite it may be a tad low (don't flame me. Yes, I said 74 is a tad low again.)
Pros: Great size, excellent first step. Going to be one of the better pass rushers in the league for a while.
Cons:Could use a little more strength, and will command a big rookie contract from day 1.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: B -- He gets a respectable grade, but the lowest of my top 4. I just think that the BPA approach hurt in this instance for the fact that the surrounding cast could have used an elite RT or WR prospect more than ANOTHER LE.




[1.5] -- Jacksonville Jaguars --
WR Michael Floyd - Notre Dame
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 23 OVR: 85 HT: 6'3" WT: 228lbs. SPD: 94 / STR: 70 / AGI: 90 / ACC: 92 / AWR: 66 / CTH: 85 / JMP: 98 / INJ: 85

A_Fernandez :
The Jaguars were working numerous phone lines in the days leading up to the draft in an attempt to reel in a big catch. As it turned out, they were able to line up just enough dominos to create quite the combo at WR for the next decade, music to the years of newly acquired QB Lou Bishop. The move came at a cost -- as when all was said and done the Jaguars essentially traded CB Sam Shields, [2.1], a Future 4th, and a Future 5th to move up to [1.5] and select WR Michael Floyd. The Jaguars already boast one of the best defenses in the league (an array of high draft picks by Matt himself), and there had to be genuine fear amongst the AFC South teams of what may happen if the team ever establishes a permanent offensive identity. While pieces like DeMaryius Thomas, Eliseo Lemus, and a talented young offensive line were already in place -- the team adding two playmakers like Lou Bishop and Michael Floyd in one offseason had to catch a few by surprise. If everyone stays healthy, this team is going to win a lot of games in the very near future.

When it comes to moves like this and whether they should happen or not, I have to defer to the NFL -- where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had an opportunity to move up from [1.4] to [1.2] and select WR Calvin Johnson. The Detroit Lions were smitten with DE Gaines Adams, and were willing to move down for the Buccaneers 2nd and 3rd Round Picks. On paper, that's a lot to move up two spots, and the Buccaneers ultimately decided to stay put and select Gaines (R.I.P.) -- and the Lions selected Calvin, who turned out to be one of the best WRs the NFL has seen in years. Who were those picks that the Buccaneers refused to part with? S Sabby Piscatelli (released) and OG Aaron Sears (out of the league). Sure, the Jaguars gave up a lot to move up here, but they got someone who could very well be the next Calvin Johnson, and we all have seen what a career he has had with the RZL Jets. It was a gutsy move by GM Matthew Davis, and a move that made the team much better.

One aspect of the trade that can't go without mentioning is the degree of luck and gamesmanship that had to be executed perfectly for Floyd to end up a Jaguar. Leading up to the draft, most slots were untradeable and locked in stone. Andrew Luck and Patrick Peterson had long-been known to be the Top 2 picks (in WHATEVER order), while [1.3] was basically decided when the Falcons moves up from [1.6] a week prior to the draft. That left the Cardinals (4), Buccaneers (5), Eagles (6), Cardinals (7) -- all of which seemingly taking a hard-line stance on moving their picks. All had been tight-lipped with which direction they would go, with the Vikings at #8 being the first real team that was believed to be willing to move out of the Top 10. The Vikings made the call and gave up Shields to make it happen, but they could not stop there, as the Eagles and Cardinals both could have used a WR. The Buccaneers had caught wind from a little birdie that the Cardinals were interested in DE/OLB Coples, so used media publications to spin that they would be taking him at #5, despite the team being heavily linked to CB Dre Kirkpatrick.

Everyone was already screaming that the Bucs needed a CB -- so they didn't downplay that, all the while heavily targeting HB Richardson (with only a couple in the very-inner circle being privy to that knowledge). The wildcard in all of it was who the Cardinals OTHER target was, with Tyler doing a good job of keeping the fact it was WR Floyd a secret. Tyler took the bait and selected (the very talented) DE Coples at #4, assuming the Buccaneers would pounce on Kirkpatrick, and apparently hoping the Eagles would then go OL Kalil (or perhaps DT or LB). Ultimately, the Buccaneers never turned in that card, as the framework for a deal had been worked out with Jacksonville a week in advance. The Buccaneers had informed Jax that Kirkpatrick was "their guy", and that they'd be open for business if Arizona took him at [1.4], but the actual play all along was that if Richardson AND Kirkpatrick were both on the board at [1.5], they would move down and hope that Mr. Davis was not in fact targeting one of those two guys. The Jaguars ended up stealing Floyd from Arizona, at which point WHATEVER the cost was to move up and get the talented future-Pro Bowler was, it probably didn't feel like too much. Well played, Matt, well played.

Pros: Big, strong, fast, and ready to contribute right away. Outstanding leaper, on top of the great frame, and able to play any receiver spot on the field. Elite Playmaker.
Cons: Cost to move up.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A- -- As mentioned above, this guy is the real deal. In most classes, he would be the #1 player off the board, and he even compares favorably to #3 overall WR Justin Blackmon. The only thing stopping this from being a slam dunk A+ pick is the fact the team had to give up quite a lot to get to the spot, but that's nothing a few Pro Bowls won't cure.




[1.6] -- Philadelphia Eagles --
LT Matt Kalil - USC
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 21 OVR: 82 HT: 6'6" WT: 303lbs. SPD: 66 / STR: 92 / AGI: 64 / ACC: 84 / AWR: 65 / AWR: 52 / PBK: 88 / RBK: 87 / INJ: 90

The Eagles acquire [1.6] in a move down with the Atlanta Falcons from [1.3] while picking up [2.19] and [3.23]. And they finish with? Possibly the best OT prospect since Quinn James, who just had EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink sent in exchange for his services to the Washington Redskins. Kalil is slightly less powerful, but makes that up with better initial blocking abilities than even the elite James started with. Kalil is the consensus #1 OL in this class. He is an absolute star and will bolster ANY line he ever is a part of. He has almost no weakness, kind of dumb for a rookie OL, but really thats not a big issue at all IMHO. He is the real deal, and the Eagles get the first stellar pick of the draft having Kalil "fall" to them at [1.6].
Pros: Great size, amazing athleticism, and strong for a guy with his mobility and size. He isn't an injury concern and can block with the best coming right out of the gates. The secret service would be drooling over a guy with his protection abilities
Cons: An oaf when it comes to smarts, pretty cliche for an OL. Does it matter??

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A+ -- While it may be one many think should be an automatic pick for anyone that needed an OL in this draft while he is still on the board, this class has great top talent and Richardson already passed on the guy. I think he is a "steal" at [1.6] and will be a future hall-of-famer.




[1.7] -- Arizona Cardinals --
CB Dre Kirkpatrick - Alabama
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 20 OVR: 74 HT: 6'3" WT: 193lbs. SPD: 92 / STR: 57 / AGI: 86 / ACC: 92 / AWR: 60 / CTH: 61 / JMP: 90 / TAK: 52 / INJ: 88

The second CB in a very strong CB class is taken at [1.7]. As was earlier analyzed, the Cardinals had a few weaknesses that could be addressed and IMHO they chose the wrong one at [1.4]. Nonetheless, they were on the clock 3 picks later and were outspoken with their shock that WR Malcolm Floyd did not fall to them at [1.7]. Missing their chance to get one of the obvious top 10 talents at positions of need at 1.4 and 1.7, they went with what I assume was BPA on their board. They landed the tall and athletic Dre Kirkpatrick out of Alabama. I believe Dre will find himself being used in a secondary alongside vets Riley Correa, and Brandon Carr. Dre can be used situationally for the first year, or the Cards may elect to throw him straight into the mix and see what he is capable from day one. Dre was regarded as a top 5 talent by many draftanalysts so even a short fall to [1.7] is great value if Tyler really was BPA'ing the pick. Dre was only second to the obvious star of the CB class, Patrick Peterson, which is a tough act to compete with. Dre will be an elite shutdown CB at some point in his career. I love the pick for what was left and the fact nothing of need was available that could command a [1.7] price tag.
Pros: ELITE height, good speed for the height. He is athletic and can create a few turnovers early in his career, and isn't a big injury risk. A very safe pick and great player.
Cons: In a very STRONG CB class, he was one of the weak ones. Still at 57 he isn't a joke (DVD -- yea I'm still going there...).

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A -- Great value, even with a [1.7] tag on him. He will be elite for years to come as he develops.




[1.8] -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers--
HB Trent Richardson - Alabama
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 24 OVR: 85 HT: 5'11" WT: 227(197)lbs. SPD: 94 / STR: 76 / AGI: 96 / ACC: 95 / AWR: 62 / CAR: 82 / CTH: 55 / BTK: 86 / INJ: 84 / STA: 86

The second player in a row from Alabama, Clearly the tide is ROLLING! Richardson is the first HB off the board in a class that featured a few possible first round talents. At [1.8] he carries the weight of being measured his entire career to "live up to the hype". Few have gone and taken a HB too early in the first round as the stigma goes that even 2nd round talents and beyond can get comparable production. But there is no questioning a guy like Richardson. He brought much debate and the first arguement in the first round as his weigh-in during the combine was supposedly different from his weigh-in on draft day. The Buccaneers are already rumored to have bought some of the worlds finest weight-coaches to ensure he stays where they expected him to be when they drafted him. Richardson at just under 230 lbs and standing 5'11" offers a smaller bulky body that will be hard to get leverage against. He is fast, has great athleticism with cuts AND jukes, and he is a very strong player as well. He can make people miss that even get a hand on him, but if he sees a lot of touches, may be bound to miss a few plays each game, and unfortunately a game or two here and there. The beating a HB takes can sometimes make tough men look like little girls. Nonethless he compares very favorably to Miami's Gary Reyes who was [1.14] in the 2017 RZL Draft. He is even slightly more athletic and fast than Reyes at the expense of a little durability and a little catching ability. Expect Richardson to compete every step (No pun intended..) of the way with Luck, Blackmon, and Floyd this year for OROTY.

Pros: Amazing athleticism for a small, stocky and strong guy like himself. He can make BIG plays happen all by himself. Surrounded by an elite offense, he will just be scary. Expect the most out of him while in Tampa Bay.
Cons: Could be a slight injury concern if he sees too many touches throughout his early career. Hard to not want to give a guy with his skills the ball every play, so I guess Lady Luck will be the decider of his fate.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A -- Amazing player, like the risk that AF takes every year to get the guys he needs to improve his team even if they are at a taboo position for the first round. This guy will be a star from day one in Tampa.




[1.9] -- Cleveland Browns --
OLB Von Miller - Texas A&M
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 21 OVR: 83 HT: 6'3" WT: 245lbs. SPD: 85 / STR: 75 / AGI: 82 / ACC: 89 / AWR: 65 / CTH: 60 / TAK: 83 INJ: 90

The first LB taken in the draft. Miller brings an elite presence to the front 7 of ANY defense in the league. He is an elite pass-rushing OLB with the size and considerable enough strength to contend even with some of the best run-stoppers in the league too. His quick first step will get him in the backfield disrupting plays like he was born in the opponents backfield. He will be a terror for opposing offenses. At [1.9] a player with his abilities won't last much longer, guaranteed. The great thing about him beyond what's already been mentioned, is that he won't be missing many tackles even as a rookie, he is ready for Pro-HB's and won't be afraid to stick anyone that crosses his path. He will be a star.

Pros: Great size for a pass rushing OLB. His strength is very good for a "coverage" type guy and he is ready to start from day one. Being in each play wont hurt him too much, as he is a durable guy too!
Cons: Will struggle to diagnose plays early in his career, but his elite athletic abilities should allow him to recover most of the time.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A -- Kind of easy to keep handing out these great grades with this class, hard to really F*** it up when there are talents like him sitting here at the 9th overall pick.




[1.10] -- Miami Dolphins --
WR DeVier Posey - Ohio State
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 22 OVR: 80 HT: 6'2" WT: 213lbs. SPD: 92 / STR: 60 / AGI: 94 / ACC: 92 / AWR: 62 / CTH: 79 / JMP: 87 / INJ: 81

Rumor has it that a pretty girl with short shorts and a beautiful tan just happened to be gardening right outside the bay windows of the Dolphins War Room in sunny Miami during their pick. The Front Office Officials for the Dolphins were nowhere to be found for their pick. When she finally finished up and hopped into her Denver Broncos Tour bus, she waved goodbye with a wink and a kiss!
We can easily flame GM Eggleston all day for missing the pick, but let's just keep the focus on the player here.. Posey is DHB type WR, without DHB's athleticism. He will likely be at 93 speed and maybe 93 acceleration by the start of the year, which is respectable for a 6'2" guy. He has some muscle to him, so all is not lost. But missing on the 3 big CB's left and of course what I assume was their real focus, LB Aldon Smith definitely hurts. According to inside sources, the Dolphins were actually offered a top flight LB AND a top DT for the pick as well as later picks, but declined thinking they could shore up a better player in with the pick. Well.... that clearly bit them in the A** as they like to say.

Pros: Decent size with average speed and athleticism, but definitely potential to grow. Pretty strong for a WR as well, so press coverage might have difficulty against him.
Cons: Not very sure hands, will get hurt every once in a while

DRAFT ANALYSIS: D+ -- Missing a pick is never a way to get a good grade. I was not aware when this pick was made, but I'm just going to assume it was the best he could do with it, which deserves some credit. Posey isn't worthless for sure, but ABSOLUTELY not a top 10 guy in this top heavy draft.




[1.11] -- Carolina Panthers --
HB Quinton Bowlinger - Indiana
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 24 OVR: 80 HT: 6'3" WT: 251lbs. SPD: 86 / STR: 84 / AGI: 88 / ACC: 87 / AWR: 50 / CAR: 85 / CTH: 46 / BTK: 89 / INJ: 98

Quinton "BOWLING-BALL!!!" as he was chanted in the crowd at the Radio City Music Hall shortly after being selected by the Panthers, is a beast of a HB to say the least. At 6'3" 251lbs he is only truly contested by Buffalo Bills' Sol Hogan Jacksonville Jaguars' Eliseo Lemus and Pittsburgh Steelers' Dwain Nair in bowling-ball-ness. Bowlinger can obviously get out of measley arm tackles, and will cause any defense to struggle to bring him down even with conventional methods. Anything short of breaking this guys legs (and I'm not entirely sure that will even do the trick) might not stop him from running over a few people in near fatal accidents. He will never win a foot race, but imagine how many indy cars beat a self-repairing tank in a 60 lap race. I imagine that's the picture we might see from time to time when Bowlinger eats his Wheaties.

Pros: Will be a force to bring down, that is nearly unmatched in the RZL. Will rarely go down, a lot like Lemus, who has never missed a game in his workhorse career. SEASONS will be able to be put on Bowlingers shoulders.
Cons: RARELY will see a long score without people hanging on his back. Will likely never catch a pass. Will never hurdle over a defender, he prefers the more direct route - MAKING them go under him.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: B+ -- He is a great prospect. I don't know how far he would fall and [1.11] is probably a little high for him, but because his unnatural skillset, there is no telling when he would be taken so now is just as good as any time if he was the clear #1 pick for the Panthers.. Could have seen them going Darreus or Aldon Smith here as well.




[1.12] -- Denver Brocos --
OLB Aldon Smith - Missouri
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 20 OVR: 77 HT: 6'4" WT: 264lbs. SPD: 84 / STR: 78 / AGI: 85 / ACC: 86 / AWR: 54 / CTH: 53 / TAK: 78 / INJ: 84

The second LB taken and another one of the consensus top 15 guys. Aldon Smith is a BIG LB with great size, great speed/athleticism, and the ability to make a big play from time to time. He is raw, and will have to take a few bumps before he becomes truly elite, but he will get there for sure. Personally, because I just happen to know the deals being offered to the new Broncos GM Mr. Jeremy Arnold, I think he made a big mistake listening to his "trading coach" and taking a guy like Smith and not shoring up multiple holes in his team with the pick. A ridiculous offer was on the table and his "coach" was quick to shoot it down. Citing the great player a guy like Smith can be. The problem I have is that this team likely won't be a true contender for a few years as Mr. Je Arnold learns his team and the league. While he is going through this process and with a weaker defensive unit (yes I know he has Brandon Graham now too), he won't be putting together the best games against teams that might push a guy like Smith over the edge in just a few seasons. If he does, then he has an elite player at the right timing, if he doesn't he gave up an offer that could have made the Broncos a sure-contender in just a season or two without losing much.
That being said... Smith is a perfect example of how good this class is. Here we are at [1.12] (basically 11th overall since Dolphins were asleep at 3p.m.) and you can get a guy that even compares to last years [1.1], OLB Justin Houston of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I'm not saying he is as good, because he clearly isn't, but how often can you really compare a [1.12] of one year with a [1.1] of the previous year without it being a joke. He is a great prospect and this is clearly a great, top heavy draft. If he can progress well in Denver, he will be a stud for many years to come.
Pros: Amazing size, speed, athleticism, and strength for the position.
Cons: Will struggle always being in the right place early in his career and making sure tackles from time to time might be a slight issue. Will rely a lot on his pure natural ability.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A- -- Amazing player, can be great. I worry he may struggle in Denver as they "figure things out" and could lose some progression that makes him upper echelon of LB'ers.




[1.13] -- Washington Redskins --
CB Tre'Von Howard - Minnesota
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 22 OVR: 70 HT: 6'3" WT: 211lbs. SPD: 89 / STR: 72 / AGI: 94 / ACC: 91 / AWR: 54 / CTH: 58 / TAK: 44 / INJ: 90

Finally one of the elite-potential CB's comes off the board at [1.13]. However, despite being a great player at a pick that certainly is within range for a guy of his potential and caliber, I am scratching my head with this pick. The Redskins have not one, but 2 elite CBs of his pedigree on the roster. While they have been shopping starter Jon Dutch all offseason, they just shouldn't have made this their pick while still holding those two. His progress will be stunted and other positions of need are left gaping. To list, DE, DT, OG, and WR are all positions GM Jason Arnold COULD and SHOULD have gone here. With Howard, they likely will try and muscle Dutch out of Washington and get a good price for him, but if they can't find the right buyer they could really be hurting from this pick. Best case scenario IMHO would have been having a buyer for Dutch on stand-by if Howard was the only CB they were in interested in, making that trade, and getting Howard ORRRRRRRR Going the route that most likely would have happened even if that method was exhausted, and take DT Darreus, DT Fairley WR McDaniel, or even trading a few spots back and getting a OG like Cordy Glenn. CB was not a need, and it was not as if that was the only elite talent available. The Redskins made too many holes for the Quinn James move and didn't get back anything that made that trade seem like a step FORWARD.
As for the player... lol
If Tre'Von is able to progress in this defense, which may be a difficult task with his limited playing time behind the greats that are in front of him, he will be an elite level CB. Very high upside IF he is able to gain awareness (funny Jason has this guy with how much he blasts me for "not caring if a player has any awareness") The first and second year bonus' will just not get this guy where he needs to be in by year 3. He is, however, a spectacular press-coverage type CB. He will be able to command any big, slow, and physical receiver, as only a handful have the strength to try and outmuscle him. He has great athleticism for his body size, but he is one of the worst tacklers (when DVD isn't around) in the league at CB. He can make big plays with his hands from time to time, and is not an injury concern, so if he plays, it's likely he can reach the next level. Let's hope, for his sake, that's sooner rather than later even if it does hurt his Passing Defense in the here and now.

Pros: Huge body, very strong and physical CB that can command the line of scrimmage. Has good athleticism and is not an injury risk.
Cons: Will struggle making tackles alone, and will require a LOT of safety help if he happens to be lined up on the outsides. Early on will see plenty of burns and slow for your "elite" style CB.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: C- -- Felt Jason could have addressed a need and taken a guy worth the pick with other options or should have looked at moving what he already had if he was married to this guy, which I feel he made the mistake of doing.




[1.14] -- Houston Texans --
CB Jarvis Wilhite - Oregon
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 23 OVR: 70 HT: 6'4" WT: 216lbs. SPD: 90 / STR: 66 / AGI: 87 / ACC: 88 / AWR: 55 / CTH: 50 / JMP: 96 / TAK: 60 / INJ: 96

Ah... the second elite-potential CB of my list of 5 for this draft taken in a row. And not, surprisingly (coming from Houston) another equally big headscratcher. The Texans, however, don't have a guy with his pedigree on their roster, so for that I see a little of why they may have tried to get Wilhite. GM Ricky Lung was overly joyous with his offseason leading up to and throughout the draft, however, I don't see why he should. Being quoted referring to his work this offseason as a "Masterpiece" was almost laughable. From my perspective, I watched a team that is perennially struggling make not one but TWO moves this offseason to ENSURE that they will stay at the bottom of the league for some time to come. Sitting at [1.1] and holding the key to the future of the Texans franchise, they caved to peer pressure listening to offers to move their current franchise QB, albeit a slug and massive injury risk, for a good (but weak) OT and a late first. Which isn't necessarily the worst move that could be made, but only followed it up with the unthinkable of moving THAT franchise QB and then moving the 1st overall pick to a draft with the best QB that has ever graced the RZL draft. QBs win games in Madden and while Ricky felt like he may have had multiple epiphanys this offseason, he missed the giant one that should have been smacking him in the face this entire offseason. FRANCHISE QBs ARE WHERE ITS AT. Amazing both teams with [1.1] and [1.2] originally moved their current franchise QBs but neither walked away with the best QB to ever bless the draft. Ricky seems to have a false-hope that Andre Woodson will lead his team to glory this year, but all he has proven is it's the same old Ricky and they will end where they always do. I hate to be so down on such a good guy, but the moves he continues to make and defend are just baffling...
Back to the pick. So he secures CB Jason McCourty, a lockdown speedster who is still young enough and he has former [1.1] himself, in Matt Howard penciled in on the other side, but.... still goes for Wilhite. I think it was a big mistake to go for Wilhite with good talent at this point at WR or HB. The biggest criticism isn't necessarily WHO he picks with [1.14] but taking a step back WHY he has the pick. Looking at his roster, he has good/great talent in a lot of positions, but then a ton of it at certain single positions (DT, OT, TE((??))) Then he has 1 HB, no C, 1 MLB, 5 safeties, none of which I would start, and it just seems like his new way of thinking has him hording all these solid guys, but not realizing only 11 are on the field at one time, and he has no control over which ones are out there in what situations. And that goes without saying his Offense has nothing that you want of a team that can't just shut down teams defensively. He has crappy receivers, one HB that isn't someone I'd ever start again, and a 1 or 2 year replacement-type QB. Yet.. here we are selecting our 3rd 1st round CB. One that isn't elite right now and needs a lot of grooming to get to that level. Masterpiece? You must be Picasso, because I just don't see any "art" in what you are making Ricky.
Pros: HUGE upside if he ever plays. Great size, great strength, managable speed, and never will be an injury hassle.
Cons: Not ready right now, will get burned a lot. Cant make big plays with his hands consistently, and lacks elite acceleration.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: C -- Not that Wilhite is a bad player, he can be one of the best, just not with the Texans, not right now at least. This is just another in a long line of head-scratching moves by Ricky. Glad to see a division rival going nowhere, but not glad to see a guy with such immense FALSE hope. This offseason of such "promise" might crush our great leader when it doesn't pan out right..




[1.15] -- Jacksonville Jaguars --
CB Jimmy Smith - Colorado
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 22 OVR: 72 HT: 6'2" WT: 211lbs. SPD: 92 / STR: 70 / AGI: 87 / ACC: 89 / AWR: 55 / CTH: 55 / TAK: 60 / JMP: 93 / INJ: 92

A_Fernandez :
The Jaguars ultimately gave up LB Sergio Kindle and [1.19] to get DT Linval Joseph and [1.15], so more or less you could say it was a wash. The bigger trade news was the team gave up talented CB Sam Shields to move up and get WR Michael Floyd, so they were going to have to secure a CB at some point. The Jaguars are very familiar with drafting 6'2" CBs in the first 33 picks, and Jimmy compares favorably to previous incarnations. Ultimately, he is not a finished product and he will cause some headaches in that secondary over his first couple years. If handled with some TLC, however, he will be a very good player in this league -- and you don't take a player with the 15th overall pick in this draft if you don't plan to give him some TLC.

One thing that stings about the trade is that Smith was clearly not the BPA when the Jaguars turned in the card. There were some very talented defensive players still on the board, but the Jaguars were loaded at many of those positions so were ultimately stuck in the twilight zone, so to say. They couldn't trade down -- as CBs were coming off the board quick, and even a move down of 5 or 6 picks could change their outlook drastically. They couldn't trade up, as the only two corners worth moving up for were Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, and the team had already moved their biggest trade chip to move up and get Michael Floyd. So ultimately, while Smith was not the best player on the board, he was easily the best fit for the Jaguars on the board, so they made the pick they had to make. Some might not like it, but in a few years, the pick will look much better.


Pros: Great size for a corner, decent top end speed, phenomenal strength, and decent enough hands and tackling.
Cons: Lacks quickness and is relatively raw. Will require some training camp love if he's ever to reach his potential, and will suffer some growing pains the first few years.

DRAFT ANALYSIS: C+ -- Corners were coming off of the board quick, and it was believed the well would dry up pretty quickly, certainly before the Jaguars were up to pick again, so it's hard to knock the decision. Jimmy is a talented player that, if taken care of, will be a real force in 3 seasons. As it stands now, however, he looks slightly less prepared to play than Jesse Murphy, was taken at the top of the 2nd in 2017.





[1.16] -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers --
DT Marcell Dareus - Alabama
-- Attributes of Notice --
AGE: 21 OVR: 86 HT: 6'3" WT: 319lbs. SPD: 67 / STR: 96 / AGI: 66 / ACC: 84 / AWR: 60 / TAK: 80 / INJ: 87

Up next is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again at #16. GM Anthony Fernandez has built a powerhouse team that contends for the title every year, and seems to be a favorite every year as well to go the distance. Looking over his team it's first evident that he has talent EVERYWHERE. Why not go BPA? Dareus is the guy. Without a major need out there, I can't argue with the pick and think AF was smart not to move down and pick up some things with a guy like him on the board. He wouldn't be there long, thats for sure. AF seems to need a RE, however, I believe I remember a report that he is switching to the 3-4. Dareus will be stud at what I assume will be LE for his fast burst and workable speed. He seems to be a better NT, but with an elite NT in Timothy Miller already on the roster, I can't see why they would have him there. Dareus, Miller, and soon-to-be RE Lynwood Christian will easily contend for one of the best DL's in the league, and overall one of, if not THE best defense in the league. They have it all, and a guy like Dareus completes the puzzle. I have one slight problem with the pick being that for a more 3-4 type DL, he may have been better to choose the quicker Nick Fairley who may be an overall better player for the position I think AF is trying to fill. HOWEVER.... IF AF plans on using any TC points say on speed, this could be one of the most destructive DT's in the RZL EVER, giving contention to my own Vaughn Martin.

Pros: Dareus is arguably the best DT in the draft, and when was the last time the best DT, in a good DT draft class, went 16th overall? Dareus has elite acceleration, elite strength, very good speed, great size, and he can make sure tackles.
Cons: There really isnt one. He has it all. May be a bit slow for a 3-4 DE compared to Fairley who was still on the board

DRAFT ANALYSIS: A -- Mixing BPA with need, is always a great thing! Could maybe argue Fairley over Dareus for AF's specific need here, but that would be nit-picking. Great pick at a great slot.

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