Reflecting on the NFL Draft

Fantasy team owners may watch the NFL Draft with unique intrigue and expectations.



If you play fantasy football, then you look at the draft in a completely different way. Depending on your league rules, you are only watching for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, and where these college stars land.

Talent, opportunity, and schematic fit all factor into a players success in the NFL. Heading into the draft I had my eye on two players — Clemson WR Sammy Watkins and LSU WR Odell Beckham, Jr.

I really wanted the speedster from Clemson to go No. 10 overall to Detroit. I “own” Calvin Johnson in my league so I am just sick and tired of him getting triple teamed every play. Theoretically, Watkins would take some of the heat off “Megatron," and the Lions would just torch defenses with an aerial assault. 

My dreams didn’t materialize, however, as the Bills traded up to No. 4 and took Watkins. It’s not a terrible fit; he’s already been anointed the new top WR in Buffalo, provided the ball is delivered to him on consistent basis.

I had my heart set on Beckham getting drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round. I am a big fan of Nick Foles (Westlake Chaps), and he is my QB so any new athletic target for him is a bonus. Plus, Chip Kelly’s track meet offense would be the perfect fit for the wide receiver’s blazing speed.  The New York Football Giants ended my buzzfest by drafting Odell at No. 12, hours before the Eagles had a shot to get their talons on him.

Here are a few other Texas-tinged musings of note, as we gear down from the draft and get ready for another season of football in August.

For the first time since 1937, no Texas Longhorns were drafted.

This is officially the end of the Mack Brown era, and it’s sad to see it end on such a sour note. There are conceivably two factors that played into no UT players getting drafted. First, talent. Since 2009, UT failed to recruit the talent necessary to compete for Big 12 titles. The arrival of Kevin Sumlin in College Station and the emergence of Art Briles in Waco have swung the pendulum away from Austin. The second factor: Work ethic, or the perception of the lack of it, by Texas players. There has long been a perception that Texas players didn’t work hard, didn’t train during off seasons and NFL teams shied away from them. New head coach Charlie Strong is going to have to recruit and groom more players like defensive back Earl Thomas, who just signed a contract extension in the wake of Seattle’s Super Bowl victory.  and less Roy Williams’ of the world.

Johnny Manziel slid to No. 22, drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

Many draft pundits had Manziel going anywhere from No. 1 overall to somewhere in the third round. That is Grand Canyon-sized window, and it shows how polarizing a figure the former A&M star and Heisman trophy winner has come to be. The concerns over Johnny Football having a successful NFL career vary from his lack of prototypical size and arm strength to his questionable decision-making skills that create an off-the-field circus of distractions. Can he stay healthy and avoid the brutal collisions that mark a short career for someone of his stature? Can he throw a deep out route from the pocket with precision and velocity?

I think Manziel is going to be awesome. He is one of the most electrifying athletes I’ve seen in quite some time. He had no problem gutting the SEC for two seasons so I don’t see why he can’t succeed at the NFL level. Granted, Cleveland is not the greatest landing spot for him, but he has LeBron James potential as the city’s new king.

 

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