2016 NFL Draft Strategy Observations – Part II

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The 2016 NFL Draft is a few short weeks away on the NFL Calendar. Between now and April 28th teams will employ various tactics to obscure which players they are actually considering. Secrecy, misleading statements, negative player information released by anonymous sources and outright prevarication are all on the menu and the closer day one becomes the longer the buffet.

The period between now and the end of the draft is the official peak of lying season for NFL personnel. Coaches and owners give interviews at league meetings and upcoming OTA’s. Agents and front office contacts are on every publications speed dial. As grandma used to say “… the way you can tell if they’re lying is their lips are moving.”

In order to find anything approaching a realistic assessment of who a team  may or should actually be looking at its best at this point to step back and consider the obvious when looking at possible strategies a team may employ come draft day.

After considering each team a few observations emerged. The more interesting ones from picks 11-20 are listed below. You can find observations from picks 1-10 here.

  • Chicago Bears, Pick 1/11 – Holding a sweet pick just outside the top ten makes the Bears a great trade down target or trade up suitor but no pre-draft deals will get done. Instead they will entertain offers as the top picks unfold and unless they get a bomb offer will wait and see who has dropped into their laps from the top ten scramble. No matter if they trade or stay put a defensive starter along the line is a must and at pick 11 they should have their choice of quite a few. DE Joey Bosa may have dropped, DE DeForest Buckner would fit the bill as well. CB Vernon Hargreaves also fills a need and should be available. He would be a game one starter.  Eleven is a great place to be.
  • Oakland Raiders, Pick 1/14 – The Raiders are a young team on the rise. They have talent scattered up and down the roster. It looks like they’ve found they’re franchise QB and when that happens you darn well better protect him. Oakland has big needs on defense and could use a running back upgrade as well. Forget all that. OT’s Ronnie Stanley or Jack Conklin should be the targets and one of those gentleman should be wearing silver and black next year. Oakland needs to stay put and take the best OT that comes to them.
  • Los Angeles Rams, Pick 1/15 – With two second round picks in their pocket the Rams are sitting pretty. They are in range to trade up if they want to target one of the top QB’s or to trade down if they want to pick up a few more picks. Regardless of which direction they flow the Rams need a new signal caller. Jeff Fisher can’t afford to get cute. A trade up for Wentz or Goff is entirely feasible with the Browns or Cowboys being potential trade partners. If they sit still one of the two QB’s may drop to them but if not Paxton Lynch or Connor Cook should be available.  The Broncos are sitting at the bottom of the draft with Mark Sanchez as their current signal caller. Any able bodied QB isn’t making it past them into the second round. Rams need to keep their eye on the prize and bring a field general into the fold.
  •  Buffalo Bills, Pick 1/19 – With nepotism rancor bubbling just beneath the surface in Buffalo the Bills need talent on defense. They lost DE Williams to the Dolphins and he has been vocal about his displeasure when discussing his last year in with the team. The Ryans need horses to pull the wagon and defensive line is where they need to start. Inside, outside, conehead, no conehead, it doesn’t really matter. They need to be able to stop the run and pressure the QB. At 19 they “should” be in position  to scratch that itch. “Should.”
  • New York Jets, Pick 1/20 – The Jet’s need a big time edge rusher and at pick number 20 they aren’t going to get it. They will have an outside shot at one of the top OT’s. Probably not. What does slot here are cornerbacks and the Jet’s need em. Don’t overthink the move. Take the best CB after Hargreaves and don’t look back. Mackensie Alexander, Eli Apple and William Jackson III are all possibilities here. One should be wearing Jet Green in 2016. An outside chance the Jet’s target a QB here depending on the outcome of the Ryan Fitzpatrick negotiations.

Will look at the rest of round one next. Have your own draft strategy observations? Comment below!

What say you Sports Nation?

Another Left Coast Sports Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over

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