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Welcome to Zach’s Draft Corner, where it’s always amateur hour.
Another draft has come and gone, and my life is empty yet again. I can confidently say that this was the most entertaining and unpredictable draft I have ever watched, but there are still some lessons we can take away from the craziness that we all experienced last week. We will always have the memories, so let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what we learned from last week’s truly nutty NFL draft.
We Will Never Have All of the Information
Everyone thought that the New York Giants wanted Dwayne Haskins as their quarterback of the future, but Dave Gettleman decided to go with Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was seen as a likely first-round pick that happened to fall to the fourth round because he had poor interviews. Deionte Thompson was, at one time, considered a first-round pick that happened to fall to the fifth round because he had a degenerative knee condition.
This is why the craziest mock draft is not as crazy as the real draft. There is information we could never guess, or would be ridiculous to guess, that will lead to perceived overdrafts and falls, but make sense after the pick is ultimately made. Many in the media won’t spread their information about certain prospects if the information is just hearsay because they don’t want to be the way a team finds out about something with a player. If a team was going to take Thompson in the second round but then heard the report of his knee condition from the media, it could literally cost Thompson millions of dollars. If a prospect is falling way further than you think he should, there is likely a reason.
If You're A Playoff Team and Can Trade A First Round Pick for A Star Player, Do It
Let’s reflect on the player-for-pick trades in the first round this year. The Raiders took Josh Jacobs with the pick they received for Khalil Mack. The Raiders also took Jonathan Abram with the pick they received for Amari Cooper. The Giants took Dexter Lawrence with the pick received for Odell Beckham, Jr. These players may turn out to be great players. In fact, they may even be of a caliber of the player they traded away. There’s also a good chance that these players will never be as valuable as the player the pick was traded for. Try to keep your superstars happy, and if one is available for you to snatch up with a pick late in the first round, you should absolutely give up that pick.
Take Teams' Situations into Their Draft Strategy
Teams like the Saints and Steelers need to win now, and they both traded up to get the guys they need to potentially put them over the top. Teams like the Seahawks and Rams and are strapped for cash, so they traded back to get multiple later round picks to fill in the gaps on their team. Teams like Denver are playing the long game, so they navigated up and down to make sure they got the cornerstones needed to make the rebuild successful. When you are trying to project trades, always try to peg the teams 100% committed to a particular team-building strategy. They will be the ones willing to wheel and deal if your offer coincides with their strategy.
Leverage is Everything
The Cardinals didn't trade Josh Rosen before the draft, but showed their hand when they took Kyler Murray first overall. Meanwhile, the Giants drafted Daniel Jones, Washington was ecstatic when Dwayne Haskins fell to their fifteenth overall pick, and Denver walked away with Drew Lock in the second round. Ultimately, it came down to the Miami Dolphins being the only team wanting to give the Cardinals a second-round pick due to the decreased leverage the Cardinals had. However, because they held all of the Cards, Miami didn't give Arizona their actual second round pick. Instead, the Dolphins traded back in the second round, got an additional second round pick in 2020, and used the worse second round pick in 2019 to get Rosen. Again, this is because the Cardinals had no leverage to demand the higher second-round pick. Arizona completely messed up potential trades with Rosen because their leverage was gone after taking Kyler Murray. The lesson here is you make deals while you have leverage. Otherwise, you sell a quarterback like Rosen for pennies on the dollar.
Winner: Washington Redskins
Draft picks: QB Dwayne Haskins, DE Montez Sweat, WR Terry McLaurin, RB Bryce Love, G Wes Martin, C Ross Pierschbacher, OLB Cole Holcomb, WR Kelvin Harmon, CB Jimmy Moreland, OLB Jordan Brailford
I absolutely love Washington’s draft. Haskins was my top-rated quarterback, and Washington took him with the fifteenth pick. Washington traded back up when Montez Sweat began to fall late into the first round. McLaurin will provide speed that Washington simply doesn’t have on the roster, and Kelvin Harmon fell way further than he should have. Bryce Love is a high-ceiling running back if he can stay healthy. Wes Martin and Ross Pierschbacher were great value to rebuild the interior of their offensive line, and Hub-favorite Jimmy Moreland was a steal in the seventh round. Washington dominated this draft from top to bottom, and should be back to contending sooner rather than later.
Loser: Seattle Seahawks
Draft picks: DE L.J. Collier, S Marquise Blair, WR D.K. Metcalf, OLB Cody Barton, WR Gary Jennings, G Phil Haynes, CB Ugo Amadi, ILB Ben Burr-Kirven, RB Travis Homer, DT Demarcus Christmas, WR John Ursua
Seattle’s draft was just confusing. Grabbing D.K. Metcalf was a great move late in the second round, but every other pick was taken at least two rounds too early. Seattle had two first round picks, but turned that only into the mid-round prospect of L.J. Collier when the first day was over. Seattle’s biggest need was their offensive line, and only took one offensive lineman with their ten picks. Seattle’s draft was just confusing.
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