Nobody ever really knows what’s going to happen in the NFL Draft until it happens. I learned that the hard way last year when I spent days, WEEKS even, studying for the draft so I could write up a mock first round.
I made it precisely zero picks before I missed one, and ended up correctly picking exactly two of the 32 selections.
It was a humbling way to learn that the Draft is a microcosm of football chaos. Sure, we can try to predict and control the outcome. But, in the end, there are just too many variables at play to accurately predict anything in advance.
With that said, I’m going to try to make some predictions in advance of the draft. Hopefully, I’ll have a better accuracy rate than 6.25 percent this go round.
A Tight End Will Be Picked Before A Wide Receiver Or Running Back
Sure, this might not seem like a bold prediction, given this season’s draft class. But, consider that the last time this happened was 1973, when not one, but two tight ends were taken off of the board before a running back or wide receiver was selected, and this feels like it’s worth noting.
Oddly enough, there’s a possibility that this blip in draft history could repeat itself this year. There are two tight ends being projected ahead of most all of the wide receivers and running backs: Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson. Both of whom are from Iowa.
Three Or Fewer Quarterbacks Will Be Taken On Thursday Night
I understand that Kyler Murray, Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, and Drew Lock all have the potential to go in the first round. But all of them have had reasons, some reasonable, some stupid, to fall out of the first round.
Murray is short and Haskins was a one-year starter for a head coach that can’t develop NFL quarterbacks playing against weak defensive competition. Jones is just bad, but he played for David Cutcliffe, so he might be good? Lock has been compared to Jay Cutler for his big arm but bad decisions…so yeah.
But more than that, all of the teams that have been slotted to draft a quarterback already have temporary solutions there. Maybe they’ll address other needs in the first round and wait for a better class of quarterbacks next year?
Which brings me to my next bold prediction:
The Redskins Won’t Draft A Quarterback In The First Round
Just about every mock draft I have seen has the Washington Redskins drafting a quarterback in the first round. And rightfully so, they really need one. But we aren’t calling this is a bold predictions piece for nothing.
The Redskins have so many needs outside of quarterback. They likely won’t draft a wide receiver in the first. At least they shouldn’t. But there are multiple different, feasible options to fill their needs at cornerback, edge, or really everywhere along the offensive line in the first round.
And their quarterback need? If the Arizona Cardinals are serious about drafting Murray, they’ll likely be shopping Josh Rosen around for a couple of draft picks. Which wouldn’t be a terrible deal for the Redskins. There’s also some potential lying on down the board at the quarterback position. Surely between Rosen, Colt McCoy, Case Keenum, and Will Grier/Jarrett Stidham/Gardner Minshew they can find someone to tide them over for a couple of years, right? RIGHT???
The Jets Will Trade Down From The Third Pick
The New York Jets need help really everywhere. And the big problem is that they don’t have a second round pick.
So would it be worth trading out of the third overall pick of the draft? I think so. Even better, there are plenty of teams behind them at the moment that would probably be willing to trade up to get in front of the Oakland Raiders for any number of players.
Best case scenario for the Jets, the Cardinals pass on Murray. Obviously, the Jets are set at the moment at quarterback. And teams like the Raiders, Dolphins, Redskins, and Giants would probably be willing to give up a handful of picks to trade up and get Murray.
Sure, the Jets could just as easily go with any of the great defensive line options that will be available with the third pick. They wouldn’t be wrong to do so. But since this class of defensive linemen is so deep, I think they have more to gain by trading down and picking up a second round pick along the way.
D.K. Metcalf Won’t Go In The First Round
Look, I get it. Metcalf looks like a Madden Create-A-Player. And he is projected as the best wide receiver on the board by a lot of people.
But his biggest weakness is he can’t change directions. And you know what wide receivers have to do in the NFL? Change directions, quickly. Worse than that, everybody knows that he can’t change directions, meaning he will probably get eaten alive by NFL defenses.
Fun fact: Tom Brady posted more explosive numbers in his NFL combine than Metcalf did on the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle. Brady posted 7.2 seconds and 4.38 seconds in those drills, respectively. Metcalf posted 7.38 and 4.5 seconds. Think about that: Brady was more explosive laterally than Metcalf. And he was wearing khaki shorts.
Metcalf reminds me of Dorial Green-Beckham. A big, freaky athletic target that can really only run in a straight line, effectively. DGB washed out of the league in two years, for reference. These types of wide receivers are going the way of the dodo.
Of course, it only takes one team to think he is worth a first round pick. So we’ll have to wait and see.