What are the five biggest storylines heading into Day Two, the Second Round of the 2016 NFL Draft?
Myles Jack’s Knee Problem
It’s not Jaylon Smith bad, but it’s bad.
Myles Jack has a major knee issue that caused him to fall from a possible top five pick – maybe even No. 3 – all the way out of the first round. Now, there’s even some talk that he might not be drafted at all after revealing he might need microfracture surgery on his injured knee.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, former Ohio State star and No. 1 NBA draft pick Greg Oden had three microfracture surgeries and never got his career off the ground. Houston Texan DE and former top NFL pick Jadeveon Clowney also underwent the same sort of surgery, and he’s just starting to get back to form.
Think of Jack’s knee like a ticking time bomb. He’s probably fine for a while, but at some point there’s going to be a major problem. It wasn’t worth taking the risk in a loaded first round, however …
The Tennessee Titans Will Be Major Players
Why do you amass multiple draft picks? It’s so you can take reasonable chances and shoot for the stars, and Tennessee is in a position to do just that.
The Titans traded out of the first overall pick and got the offensive tackle they needed – but not Laremy Tunsil, who they should’ve taken – in Jack Conklin at the eight. They have the 33rd overall pick – the second pick in the second round – the 43rd, and the 45th. They need defensive tackle help, and a slew of stars will be there for the taking, but they can also take a flier on a potential home run value selection in Jack. Or they can keep on stockpiling in what looks like a whale of a second round, mainly because …
Yes, Alabama Crimson Tide Won The National Title
Nick Saban had a lonely night in Chicago.
Ohio State stocked the first round with five picks in the top 20, while center Ryan Kelly was the only Alabama star to go – he went 18th to Indianapolis.
If the Buckeyes owned Thursday, get ready for the Crimson Tide to dominate Friday – at least early on, and then Urban Meyer will have his fun again.
Defensive tackles A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed, running back Derrick Henry and linebacker Reggie Ragland are all first round talents who could and should go very, very quickly once the second round starts up. Defensive tackle is still a need for most teams picking high up, the New York Giants could use a thumping running back, and Baltimore seems like the perfect landing spot for a tough-guy leader of a linebacker.
Even so, Ohio State will make its presence felt, too, with Braxton Miller, Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas and Joshua Perry all likely second rounders.
The Quarterback Situations
With Jared Goff and Carson Wentz going to Los Angeles and Philadelphia, respectively, and with Denver moving up to take Paxton Lynch, three key quarterback situations were settled. However, Cleveland still needs one, New Orleans needs a future option with Drew Brees starting to wind down, and Buffalo and the New York Jets each need some quarterbacking assistance.
Ohio State’s Cardale Jones is the shot at future greatness, but he’s likely to slip into the third or maybe even the fourth round. With the first pick in the second, is this when Cleveland tries to find its guy with Christian Hackenberg or Connor Cook?
Whichever one the Browns don’t take, if they take one, the Cowboys might be tempted two picks later with the 34 to find a future replacement for Tony Romo – or at least a key backup option – but it’ll be New Orleans at the 47, Buffalo at the 48, and the Jets at the 51 who might have to do some maneuvering if they really one of the two main guys left on the board.
These two quarterbacks might make this the …
Best Second Round Ever?
Two years ago, Christian Hackenberg was considered a possible No. 1 overall pick type of talent – and it’s still debatable about whether or not he might ultimately be better than Jared Goff or Carson Wentz.
He’s sliding, and so are a boatload of talented players who could’ve easily have gone in the first round without anyone batting an eye.
Hunter Henry out of Arkansas is the best tight end in the draft, and Kansas State’s Cody Whitehair is the best guard.
Again, Myles Jack was considered a top five overall talent throughout the offseason process, while the aforementioned four Alabama stars – A’Shawn Robinson, Jarran Reed, Reggie Ragland and Derrick Henry – are all first round players sliding on down.
You want first round-caliber pass rushers? Eastern Kentucky’s Noah Spence, Clemson’s Kevin Dodd, Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah, and Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun are all right there.
Need defensive tackle help, besides the Bama guys? Baylor’s Andrew Billings, Mississippi State’s Chris Jones, and Penn State’s Austin Johnson are all NFL starters.
Safety is turning into one of the toughest positions to find, but Ohio State’s Vonn Bell, Clemson’s T.J. Green, and Boise State’s Darian Thompson are still on the board.
In all, there are at least 20 players who made well-informed first round mock drafts throughout the last few months, and the value is at an unprecedented level.
Consider Friday to be like First Round Lite – it’ll be fantastic.