Top 5 Players in the 2016 NFL Draft
The end of spring is often debated as the peak of sports excitement. With the baseball season starting (the Cubs are winning a lot already…just saying), the NBA playoffs, and of course, the greatest playoff of them all (yeah I said it), the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s no wonder that sports fans are glued to their TV’s.
While the previously mentioned events are all fun to watch, there is always one night that sticks out: the NFL Draft. For years, the NFL Draft has gotten bigger and bigger to the point where it’s the third biggest event the NFL has to offer (third only to kickoff weekend and Super Sunday). For the second straight year, the draft won’t be in New York City, but instead at “Draft Town,” better known as Chicago, Illinois
The reason for the excitement is that teams will be granted the chance to change their future, and to make collegiate athletes’ dreams finally come true. There is reason for caution with the draft however. For as many successful picks that a team has made, they more than likely had more bad drafts in the past. Perhaps the biggest example of this was the 2007, draft when the Oakland Raiders drafted quarterback Jamarcus Russell with the first pick. This historic flop becomes an even bigger slap to the face considering they passed the likes of Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson or Darrell Revis for Russell. While risky, sometimes the draft pays huge dividends. Take for instance the biggest draft steal of all time when the Patriots drafted Tom Brady in the 2000 draft…in the sixth round!
For every success there is a bust. For every Peyton Manning, Walter Payton, and Ray Lewis, there is always a Ryan Leaf, Trent Richardson, Brian Bosworth. In celebration of these busts and success stories, here are my top five prospects in this year’s NFL draft. These five players are, in my opinion, the ones who have the best chance to make an impact in their franchise for years to come.
5.Ezikel Elliot-Running Back-Ohio State
The former Buckeye enters the draft as the clear number one running back available, despite Alabama running back Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman trophy winner’s availability. Elliot had a stellar three-year career that will be hard for the Buckeyes to replace. Although he didn’t play much his freshman year, the stats he compiled would put any Madden player to shame. In his final two seasons he rushed for over 1,800 yards, was named the college football national championship MVP, and rushed for eighteen and twenty-three touchdowns. Wherever Elliot ends up, he’ll change the way defenses strategize against his offense.
Likely picked by: Chicago Bears. Last season Chicago saw the departure of Matt Forte, who signed a new contract with the New York Jets. While Forte was missed, it was a joke in Chicago that Forte was the best wide receiver the Bears had until Alshon Jeffery came along. Quite simply, the bears are looking for a stand out running back. Although the Bears have a great talent in Jeremy Langford, the Bears need a running back who can make an impact right away. Elliot is that impact maker. Drafting Elliot will give the Bears two great options at running back, and more options for Jay Cutler to throw to.
4.Laremy Tunsil-Offensive Tackle-Ole Miss
The tackle position is often regarded as one of the most important positions in football because of its role in protecting the quarterback, and Tunsil is one of the best. Formerly projected as the number one overall pick, Tunsil is now the pick that could end up on any team as a result of the Titans trading the first pick. In 2015 Tunsil missed seven games, but in games he did play in, he didn’t allow a sack. While successful, he’s also a clean player, as he was only called for holding once all season. Right now he might not be as talented as Walter Jones or Joe Thomas, but wherever he lands he will be a corner-stone for their quarterback protection. The only question that remains, is who will draft him?
Likely picked by: San Diego Chargers. Although DeForest Buckner will likely be available, the bottom line is that the Chargers simply need to pick the best player available to them at the third pick. This will help Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon get some much-needed breathing room for the Chargers to move the ball down the field.
3.DeForest Buckner-Defensive End-Oregon
Buckner had quite year during his senior year at Oregon. He was nominated as an All-American, first team all Pac-12 and named Pac-12 defensive player of the year. The importance of defensive ends has skyrocketed over the last few years, and Buckner is a talent that cannot be passed up. He has the chance to be the J.J. Watt of this draft. This is a player that you have to watch closely, since his draft stock can only go up.
Likely picked by: San Franciso 49ers. Although there are some teams before the 49ers seventh pick that could use Buckner, they have bigger needs at other positions. The 49ers would be the perfect fit for Buckner, seeing as his former head coach Chip Kelly is the current head coach. By drafting Buckner and putting him next to his former teammate Arik Armstead, San Franciso can have a defensive line that can make some noise in the NFC West.
2. Joey Bosa-Defensive End-Ohio State
Bosa’s entire career for the Buckeyes has been amazing. As a true freshman he had forty-four tackles, and seven and a half sacks. To reward his standout year he was named an All-American. He led his team to a Big Ten championship, the Sugar Bowl Championship, and of course the national championship. His winning career and countless awards has created quite a résumé for Bosa. Any team would be foolish to not pick him up.
Likely picked by: Dallas Cowboys. Simply put, the Cowboys need a new defensive lineman after the departure of Greg Hardy. Bosa’s leadership at Ohio State will greatly help the defense for many years to come. Bosa is a kind of player that has the talent to become the next J.J. Watt.
1.Jared Goff-Quarterback-California & Carson Wentz-Quarterback-North Dakota State
This is the million dollar question: which quarterback is better? In past years analysts and coaches have pondered which quarterback is the better choice. In the end though it all depends on their talent, the team’s talent, and if they are NFL ready. Quarterbacks today are drafted at the highest priority, and are expected to be the starter of their respected franchises that very season. Both of these quarterbacks have the talent to play in the NFL, the question will be if they are ready to play, now or do they need time to develop their talent? In today’s NFL, teams can’t afford wasting time on development.
Likely landing spot for Goff: Los Angeles Rams. The Rams made a blockbuster trade with the Titans to move from the fifteenth overall to the first, making it clear they were going to draft a quarterback. While it is still up in the air which quarterback they take, sources say they are likely to draft Goff who has the arm strength, the experience playing in the Pac-12, and is more ready to play at the professional level.
Likely landing spot for Wentz: Philadelphia Eagles. After the Chip Kelly era didn’t work out, it is now time to move on. What better way to move on than to draft the best quarterback available? The Eagles made a huge trade with Cleveland to move up to the number two pick in the draft, making it obvious that they will draft a quarterback. Although very likely, it remains to be seen if Wentz starts right away with the Eagles re-signing Sam Bradford. The city of brotherly love will finally have the stability at quarterback that it hasn’t had since the days of Donavan McNabb. What the Eagles get by drafting Wentz is a proven winner, leader and a natural talent.
The fate of both these young men lies in the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.