When it comes to the draft, it seems for some teams, every domino falls perfectly, but for others, nothing seems to go their way. Every year there are winners and losers of the draft, so let’s list the 3 biggest winners and losers from the 2016 NFL Draft.
Winners: Jared Goff and Carson Wentz
No, they are not winners just because of the fact that they were the first two players off the draft board. No, the Rams and Eagles aren’t the winners because they picked players who they believe are franchise quarterbacks, as that happens with the top picks in almost every draft. However, Jared Goff and Carsen Wentz are winners, because of the situations they are being thrown into. For most quarterbacks taken at or near the top of the draft, they are thrown onto teams that were near the bottom of the league, with major rebuilding to do. Just look at Marcus Mariota and the Titans. Last year, the Titans took Mariota with the number two overall selection, yet their team was such a mess they still wound up with the number one overall pick in the draft. But because of the fact that the Rams and Eagles traded up to get the number 1 and 2 picks, they are stepping on to teams that aren’t as much of a disaster. Goff is going to a team that has been good quarterback play away from being playoff contenders for the last three seasons, and will have the best young running back in the league to take pressure and attention off of him, along with a solid defense to give him support. Wentz will be on a team that is one year removed from the playoffs, and doesn’t need to rush him into starting. With Sam Bradford on the roster, Wentz will be able to sit for a year and learn the speed of the NFL level, then step onto the field with a solid roster in year two.
Loser: Laremy Tunsil
Frankly, Tunsil became a loser of this draft once the Titans dealt the number one overall pick to Los Angeles. After months of being the favorite to go first overall, Tunsil had to accept the fact that that was no longer a possibility. However, it originally wasn’t going to be too bad, as he was still projected at worst to fall to the sixth overall selection. But minutes before the draft, a hacker got hold of Tunsil’s social media, and posted a video that was allegedly Tunsil taking a hit on a bong. This frightened teams away, as they didn’t want to possibly be dealing with an immature player who would bring off the field headaches, causing Tunsil to fall all the way to the Dolphins at the 13th pick. Even the Titans, the team originally projected to take him first overall, decided they didn’t want to deal with him, passing on him to select fellow offensive tackle Jack Conklin instead.
Winner: Joey Bosa
Throughout the entire draft process, scouts and analysts raved about how great Joey Bosa was, and how he was arguably the best player in this years draft class. However, many of those analysts also agreed that there was no great landing spot for Bosa at the top of the draft, and felt he may have fallen because of it, much like Leonard Williams in last years draft. But to the surprise of everyone, the San Diego Chargers stepped up and selected him third overall. While most felt the pick would be either DB Jalen Ramsey due to his overall talent and relative need, or fellow DE DeForest Buckner due to being a better fit in the Chargers scheme, they took Bosa because they felt he was the best player on the board, and saved him from a possible free fall.
Loser: Myles Jack
Myles Jack was a top five talent in this years NFL draft, but injury concerns kept him from going in that area. Many teams felt that Jack would require micro-fracture surgery on his knee, which is a very tough injury to recover from. This caused Jack to fall. It became a trend towards the middle of the first round for Jack to be in the discussion for every pick, as everyone was amazed at how far he has fallen. Jack fell so far, that he ended up all the way out of round one entirely. Jack did eventually go to the Jaguars near the top of the second round, which is ironic as they were projected by many to be interested in taking him with the 5th overall pick.
Winner: Jacksonville Jaguars
What an offseason for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In free agency, they added RB Chris Ivory to pair with TJ Yeldon, as well as DT Malik Jackson and S Tashaun Gipson to strengthen their defense. Now they had, in my opinion, the best draft of any team in the NFL. Everything fell perfectly for the Jaguars. First, the Cowboys passed on DB Jalen Ramsey to take RB Ezekiel Elliot. Most believed that Ramsey wouldn’t be in play for the Jaguars, but with the Cowboys passing, it allowed them to take the best defensive back prospect since Patrick Peterson, and arguably the best prospect in this draft at the 5th overall pick. The Jaguars then were able to nab LB Myles Jack in the second round, a top 5 talent who fell due to injury concerns, but we already discussed that. Any time you land two top five prospects, and arguably two of the three best defensive prospects in the draft, it is a definite win.
Losers: Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones
Yes, it probably would have been easier to just say that the Dallas Cowboys lost, but that is making it too easy. Instead, I believe that they both suffered individual losses, but at different levels of the draft. First, Garrett lost when he was likely overpowered by Jerry Jones with the 4th pick, selecting RB Ezekiel Elliot over DB Jalen Ramsey. There is no doubt in my mind that Jason Garrett wanted to select Jalen Ramsey to fix his secondary, but Jerry Jones didn’t care and took the running back, because fans love offense. That’s not to say Elliot isn’t a good player, but he just wasn’t as much of a need as Ramsey, and is not on the same level as him in terms of talent. Jones then lost when he was not able to pull off trades to land QB Paxton Lynch at the end of round one, or QB Connor Cook at the beginning of round four. Jones was actively looking for the eventual successor to Tony Romo, and had two high value opportunities when Lynch fell to the end of round one, and when Cook took a surprising fall all the way to round four. Jones was so upset, in fact, that he reportedly lost sleep over the fact that the Broncos outbid his Cowboys to take Paxton Lynch.