The biggest and final takeaway from the first round of the draft? NFL GM's will still sell their soul for hope at quarterback, and this league is ALL about offense (I guess that's two takeaways but they tie in a little). The Bears getting duped to move up a spot and select a quarterback they were gonna have at three anyways is probably the best example. My best guess? The 49ers had a lot of other offers and the Bears decided to outbid someone else in the top ten (maybe the Jets or Chargers) to guarantee they got their quarterback, a quarterback who, as I detailed last post, started thirteen career college games. So the Bears either wrecked the future of the franchise (most likely) by giving up a pair of third rounders and a fourth to skip out on elite talents like Jamal Adams and Marshon Lattimore and neglect the rest of a roster that drastically needs an overhaul. The Chiefs and Texans did something similar, with Kansas City trading up for a complete project at quarterback, and the Texans singing up for a probable game manager. Three other teams in the top ten carried the offense reach trend. I doubt many people had three receivers going in the top ten, considering Mike Williams limited speed (he's too slow for the common Dez Bryant comparisons to be legit) and John Ross' injury history (many teams took him completely off the board) and talents like Jonathan Allen, Marshon Lattimore, Hook and Foster all fell to later picks.
why deshaun watson's winning pedigree won't translate to the nfl-and why no quarterback is worthy of a first round pick in the 2017 nfl draft
Watson is a limited athlete without the ability to push the ball downfield. He hasn't stopped throwing picks since day one, and his inside running and designed ball carries are going to all but disappear at the next level. I could see him becoming a competent, and maybe clutch, game manager, he probably peaks at a Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith-esque level, surround him with playmakers and a great OC, and I think he could produce. But he's not ever going to carry a team like Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford has this year.
The most terrifying thing about this QB class? It's very easy to make a case for him as the best quarterback in this class- a crunch time performer who led his team to back to back national championship appearances? Sounds better than the one year starter, the quarterback who can't set his feet to save his life, or the Notre Dame quarterback who failed to produce in college.
If I was a GM in this draft there's no way I waste a pick on a quarterback on day 1, especially considering how good this class is. There's probably six or seven defensive linemen worth a pick, two tackles, a guard, at least four running backs, three receivers, possibly four linebackers, and easily eight corners worthy of a first round selection. And don't forget about one of the better safeties classes the draft has seen in a long time, with two top ten locks and a pair of high upside wild cards who could slide in at the end of the first. Oh, and two dual threat freaks at tight end who are also locked to go in the first round? How, I ask, as a GM, do you justify passing up on so many great options for such high risk prospects and such a high risk position? Here's some career advice to NFL heads- if you drop a first round pick on a quarterback who only started one year at a sub-elite program, and he busts in what would be the most obvious "well duh, he couldn't win the starting job in college" hindsight comment on all time and four pro bowlers are picked behind him, you get a pink slip. And are gonna struggle to get picked up anywhere else. Mahomes is so technically flawed and inconsistent I'm not sure anyone could truly fix him, and Kizer can't hit the side of a barn. But Reuben Foster, Marlon Humphrey, and Dalvin Cook might be cornerstones for championship teams- and all of them could easily last to the teens or later. Just saying.
After Les Miles managed to struggle twenty points a game with athletes like Leonard Fournette for a college football eternity, LSU ousted him, OC Cam Cameron, and much of the offensive staff. In Cameron's place LSU hired a young, diverse, and brilliant coach in Matt Canada. Canada spent time, among other stops, as the OC at NC State and, last year, Pittsburgh. I've seen some great analysis and cut ups of the offense. Last season the Panthers rolled out two back, two tight end I-form smash ball followed by five wide jet sweeps. Canada reminds me a lot of Chris Petersen from his time in Boise State and now in Washington- heavy formation variation, personnel groupings, series based play design and playcalling, and an emphasis on a lack of traditional offensive identity. Canada does a brilliant job of implementing a Rich Rodriguez, the "spread daddy's" Numbers, Angles, Grass principle and applying it to a different personnel grouping. I'll get more into it later, but to see some good examples check out @All22ChalkTalk on twitter, the site has some great clips of Pittsburgh's Clemson upset in a game were an outmatched Pitt offense scored 43 points on what was essentially a power read, shovel option based gameplan. Canada will utilize a gluttony of formation shifts and motion- I've seen a play where a slot receiver motioned into the backfield, back out, back in, and then outside again. I don't know if Canada can solve LSU's point problem, but if anyone can I'd put my money on him. His ability to isolate and take advantage of what will be an elite talent pool in Baton Rouge should scare the SEC for years to come.
Michigan's back, Alabama still can't suck, McElwain can coach with nothing but can't recruit, Dabo's a savior, the SEC East's top team imploded again, UGA is a disappointment with underachieving college talent, and LSU has top five talent but-for whatever reason- is determined to run a pro style offense with great athletes at quarterback who cant do that thing where your hold a football and propel it in your own players' direction- even with two receivers who will go in the top 100 in their draft- so good bye Les. And hello Ed Orgeron- you crazy insane entertaining son of a gun. (for all you need to know about old Ed, google "Colonel Reb is Crying" and listen to this story, I heard it this year and swear it's the truth)- The old UGA softball coach I have no clue if she's still there or not or what her name is but this story comes from her husband through a man who helped as a manager in college. Anyways the husband was formerly a football graduate assistant at LSU, roomed with Orgeron in college- and the nut case would walk into the room around nine o'clock at night and say something along the lines of "alright let's go beat up some *******" so Mr. future softball, like any good roommate, would go out and monitor his buddy, who would find a bar full of frat boys, sit down, and wait. He didn't go to get drunk or anything normal, regular people do at a bar- Orgeron would sit, and wait, until these frat boys got too drunk to function, then Orgeron would honest to god just walk up, start a fight, then get thrown out. And he'd just do that a couple times a week. Who doesn't love college football- and questionable hires.
So the SEC dominance is finally ended, at least according to Big 10 fans desperate for more than two good teams. And if you ask the ACC (or the society for teams not good enough to make it in the SEC) they have national championships, a Heisman, and a better bowl record. And maybe they're all right, but maybe they're just kidding themselves. after all, the SEC still has schools in prominent recruiting territory, including Florida, Georgia, and Texas. Of course, the SEC has, despite all its depth and talent at every position, a major lacking in the most decisive postition on the field. Since the losses of players like Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron, and other key leaders at their respective schools, the SEC has been severely lacking talent and experience in the previous two seasons. Last season, a multitude of schools had career back-ups to fill a season, most noticeably Blake Sims at Alabama. So although these quarterbacks may have been decent, they served largely from the bench in the past four seasons of their career for a reason. Of course, major targets are on the horizon or are already here. Chad Kelly has played exceptionally all season, Kyler Murray has looked like a future star for Texas A&M in his shortened playing time, and the top pivot for the class of 2016, Jacob Eason, is expected to play for the University of Georgia next season. So although no SEC school is currently looking at a playoff berth, there are still a host of undefeated teams around the country, and some have certainly appeared weak at times (TCU) and the SEC still has four top ten teams in a season, six weeks in, that keeps thirteen undefeated power five teams on the polls. So like all seasons, a lot of unprecedented football, injuries, and suspensions have yet to take place (prayers to Nick Chubb). Enjoy the rest of the season, because a lot of excitement is left to be seen this season.
I was raised in a family that taught me to love and devote considerable time learning the basics of sports and, as a side effect, perhaps much more importantly, what it can do for people. For as long as I can remember my family wakes up on a cool morning and plans the daily festivities. From skyline chili, to guacamole, to fried everything: Wings, Snickers, and even gator. Mornings with College GameDay, building suspense for the biggest matchup of the day, and waiting anxiously for the voices of Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson at 3:30. And the joy we feel as countless friends and family walk into the house, hugging, cheering, and bringing their own dips, deserts, and excitement for the sport we all love. The atmosphere of a college game on a Saturday afternoon is unlike any other place. The students, band, and traditions aging 100 or more years and fans who leave their homes at 5:00AM to meet up with lifelong friends, old co-workers, and brand new faces, all united over barbecue and a love for there school.